Statutory declarations are common and valuable legal documents that can add significant weight to your statements. In certain situations, they’re a legal requirement. This article answers the most common questions associated with statutory declarations, including how they work, how much they cost and who can sign one.
What is a statutory declaration?
A statutory declaration is a written statement declaring that the facts in the statement are true to the best of the knowledge of the person making the declaration. The law around this document are governed by the Statutory Declarations Act 1835. The Act states that statutory declarations are required:
- Where the Treasury substitutes a statutory declaration in cases relating to customs and excise revenues
- By the Bank of England, where stocks are being brought or sold
- To prove the execution of a Will or codicil, deed or instrument in writing
Many pieces of legislation also require statements about particular legal matters to be verified by statutory declaration, including (but not limited to):
1. In the case of a members’ voluntary winding up, under section 89 of the Insolvency Act 1986, a majority of the directors of a company can make a statutory declaration of solvency. This confirms that, having made a full inquiry into the company's affairs, they are satisfied that the company will be able to pay its debts in full, together with any interest, within a specified period not exceeding 12 months from the commencement of the winding up.
2. Where a landlord and a tenant wish to enter into an agreement to surrender an existing business tenancy at a future date, they must follow one of two procedures for the agreement to be valid and effective: the advance notice procedure or the statutory declaration procedure.
3. The latter involves the tenant making a statutory declaration confirming that they accept the consequences of entering into the agreement.
4. Contracting out of the security of tenure in a commercial tenancy.
5. When applying for a patent, declare the originality of the item.
Finally, there’re several situations where statutory declarations are usually used, although there’s no legislative requirement, such as when a person is changing their name.
How does a statutory declaration work?
You can draft a statutory declaration yourself or download an online form. However, often prescribed templates must be used, and the relevant authority will provide the form and set out what formalities are required. To ensure your statutory declaration is valid, having a qualified solicitor drafting one for you is always safest.
The document should begin with the following:
"I [FULL NAME] do solemnly and sincerely declare that...".
"and I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835".
How to get a statutory declaration?
To obtain a statutory declaration, you can start by downloading the appropriate form, also known as an "ignorance of proceedings form," or by requesting a copy at your local magistrates' court.
Once you have the form, carefully fill it out, providing accurate information about when and how you became aware of your court case. Include essential details such as the location and date of your hearing.
After completing the form, arrange an appointment to make your statutory declaration. This can be done before a solicitor or at any magistrates' court. Sign and date the form once you have made your declaration.
Finally, submit your completed declaration to the court directly or entrust your solicitor to do so on your behalf.
Suppose your case was also decided by a magistrate without a hearing. In that case, you’ll also need to submit a written plea or a completed single justice procedure notice to the court or your solicitor, if you possess one, along with your declaration.
How much does a statutory declaration cost?
The cost of a statutory declaration is £5 plus £2 for each exhibit to the document.
Who can sign a statutory declaration?
A person making the declaration. Therefore, a declaration can’t be made by a company and signed by a director, and the director must make the declaration. Multiple people can be named on the same document; however, they must each make a separate declaration for the document to be valid.
Can a statutory declaration be administered remotely?
Yes. A solicitor doesn’t need to see the declarant signing the document; the statutory declaration simply must be signed before it’s administered. The Law Society has stated that the physical presence of the declarant is merely a custom rather than a legal requirement.
Your solicitor may ask for you to attend a video conference or Zoom meeting so they can see you sign the document. Once the signing is completed, you can forward the signed declaration to your solicitor (by email), who’ll print it and complete their attestation.
How long is a statutory declaration valid for?
Statutory declarations don’t come with an expiry date, so theoretically, they could last for eternity. However, the person or body that requires the declaration may impose an expiry date; therefore, check this before you sign.
Get legal assistance from LawBite
Statutory declarations are important legal documents that carry significant weight in various situations. They serve as written statements declaring the truthfulness of the facts provided. While individuals can draft their declarations, seeking a qualified solicitor's assistance is advisable to ensure validity.
If you need support with reviewing or drafting a statutory declaration or any other business legal matter, book a free 15 minute consultation with one of our expert commercial lawyers, or call us on 020 3808 8314.