COVID-19 Notice – Reopening of Document Witnessing Centres
With WA now in phase 3 of the COVID-19 recovery a number of JP document witnessing centres have begun to resume services.
Document witnessing centres are coordinated and managed by JPs who are volunteers, and may have measures in place to protect the health and wellbeing of JPs, users of these services and the community.
The Department still recommends contacting the Witnessing Centre via phone, prior to attending.
Alternatively, for statutory declarations, you may arrange for a witness from the list of Authorised witnesses for statutory declarations.
For more information refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.
When contacting JPs, please note they are volunteers who provide their services to the community free of charge. While JPs make themselves available as much as possible, it should be remembered that JPs have the same type of work and personal commitments as any other person. Accordingly, you will need to negotiate a mutually acceptable time and place for appointment.
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COVID-19 Frequently Asked QuestionsShow more
Where can I find a JP Signing Centre?
JP document witnessing centres are generally located at local Government offices, libraries and shopping centres.
Many witnessing centres closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the health and safety of JPs, users of the centres and the community.
With WA now in phase 3 recovery, a number of document witnessing centres have reopened.
Who can witness an Affidavit?
Under the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005 (WA) (OASD Act), authorised witnesses for affidavits include clerks of court, court registrars, mining registrars and solicitors. Therefore persons seeking someone to witness an affidavit, have the option of having an affidavit witnessed by a solicitor or a registrar at a court.
Note: an appointment needs to be made with the solicitor/registrar first.
The Chief Magistrate has requested judicial officers to maintain a generous attitude in considering affidavits lodged by applicants for Extraordinary Drivers Licence and initial Violence Restraining Order applications. Evidence provided in unsworn affidavits may be accepted in Magistrate Courts during the course of a hearing by audio link. The person will be sworn by the judicial officer and asked to confirm the content of the document that bears their signature.
What if I can’t get a Family Court affidavit witnessed?
The Principal Registrar at the Family Court has provided instructions to the Family Court Registry that if a person has a Family Court affidavit that genuinely cannot be witnessed because of the restrictions arising from COVID-19, they may:
- Sign the affidavit without it being witnessed; and
- Prepare a cover letter to the Court asking that the affidavit be accepted notwithstanding that it has not been witnessed, on the basis of an undertaking from the person to be available to participate by telephone in the hearing where the affidavit is going to be relied upon; and
- At the telephone hearing, the person will be sworn by the judicial officer and asked to confirm the content of the document that bears their signature.
Contact the Family Court call centre on 9224 8222 for further assistance.
How can I get a Statutory Declaration signed?
Schedule 2 of the OASD Act, provides a list of occupational groups authorised to witnesses statutory declarations.
In addition, section 12 of the OASD authorises any person who can witness a statutory declaration under the Schedule 2 of the Statutory Declarations Regulations 2018 (Commonwealth). Accordingly, the Commonwealth legislation further expands the list of persons who can witness a statutory declaration.
Commonwealth/State Public Servants and permanent employees of a local government authority with five years continuous service are authorised to witness statutory declarations. Thus from a pragmatic perspective, it may be preferable for statutory declarations from a government authority, to be “witnessed by an authorised person in the government authority that administers the statutory declaration”.
What about getting certified copies?
There is no generic legislation authorising who can certify a copy, however, by convention anyone authorised to witness a statutory declaration is generally accepted.
Accordingly, if a certified copy is requested by a Government authority, unless a specific law states otherwise, such certifications may be referred to the Government authority that requires the certified copy.
Who can authorise my overseas documents?
In WA a Notary Public is a responsible person appointed by a Superior Court of WA to witness as a third party the signing of important documents, to administer oaths and witness Statutory Declarations and to certify true and correct, copies of original documents both for national and international purposes.
Generally, any document for use overseas must be witnessed, legalised or authenticated by a Notary Public.
Foreign governments or businesses usually require Australian notarised documents, as well as other Australian public documents, to be either "apostilled" by the Australian government, or "legalised" by their Embassies or Consulates in Australia.
Can a JP witness my Will?
There is no legislation that provides authority for a JP to witness a will.
Wills are witnessed by two persons over the age of 18 years, who are competent and not a beneficiary to a will. Accordingly, if a JP chooses to witness a will, it is in the capacity of an ordinary person and not as a JP.
Further, to avoid difficulties when dealing with probate on the death of the testator to a Will, there are compelling reasons that a witness to a Will should be a person who is likely to survive the maker of the Will. In these circumstances, this consideration by a person making a Will is particularly relevant when having a Will witnessed.