Expanding criteria for witnessing Statutory Declarations

The list of people who can witness statutory declarations in South Australia has been expanded, ensuring community members can still access the service while public health restrictions are put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Attorney-General said the Government had reviewed the requirements for witnessing documents in light of public health measures put in place to counter the transmission of the disease.

“In most cases, the rules will remain unchanged – as there is still sufficient access to these services and the current levels of safeguarding should be maintained,” Attorney-General Chapman said.

“However, in the case of statutory declarations – which have until now mostly been witnessed by Justices of the Peace in South Australia – we have determined there is scope to act.

“As a number of JP services have been withdrawn in the current climate, we have agreed to extend the criteria so that a number of others can witness statutory declarations.

“These changes are in line with the Commonwealth Statutory Declarations Act, meaning there is consistency with measures that are in place federally.”

Under the changes, people who can witness statutory declarations include government employees, accountants, religious ministers, medical professionals and bank officers who meet the criteria will also be able to witness statutory declarations.

“These changes will not alter the witnessing requirements for affidavits, powers of attorney, enduring powers of attorney and the general witnessing of documents,” Ms Chapman said.

“Where people are needed to witness documents, they are reminded that public health measures such as social distancing requirements remain in place.

“Where possible, meetings should be held in the open rather than indoors.

“In addition, the signatory and witness should also ensure they remain 1.5 metres apart at all times, and the signatory should bring their own pen.”

The regulations, along with a full list of authorised witnesses, can be found at: https://www.agd.sa.gov.au/services-and-support/justice-peace-0