Sworn statements refer to documents which contain facts that are relevant to a legal proceeding.
Affidavits, as we have written HERE, HERE, and HERE are a subset of sworn statements. However, not all sworn statements not have to be commissioned or notarised. Instead, the person making the statement signs a paragraph at the end of the document acknowledging that the facts as stated are true according to his knowledge.
Sworn statements are also usually made under the penalty of perjury. A look at the affidavit, however, reveals that it ends with the statement, “That all I have stated herein is true to the best of knowledge and belief, save for information whose sources I have stated”. So, clearly, an affidavit is a sworn statement, but a sworn statement is not necessarily an affidavit.
A sworn statement is testimony under oath. It must be clearly written so that there is less room for misinterpretation. More so, there may be no opportunity for interpretation from the maker of the sworn statement since he or she may not be present in court when it is presented.
How to Prepare a Sworn Statement
As already stated above, a sworn statement must be well prepared to leave no room for misinterpretation. More so, a sworn statement being testimony under oath means that if it contains any untrue statement, then the maker of the statement can be charged with perjury.
When preparing a sworn statement, the rules of procedure on admissibility of sworn statements should be adhered to. In Kenya, order 19 of the Civil Procedure Rules 2010 provides for affidavits. Notably rules 4 and 5 thereunder provide that:
[Order 19, rule 4.] Deponent’s particulars. Every affidavit shall state the description, true place of abode and postal address of the deponent, and if the deponent is a minor shall state his age. [Order 19, rule 5.] Manner of drawing affidavit. Every affidavit shall be drawn in the first person and divided into paragraphs numbered consecutively which shall be confined as nearly as may be to a distinct portion of the subject.
It must also meet the requirements of a sworn statement. They are:
First, the person making a sworn statement must have legal capacity to make on. He or she must be an adult, must be of sound mind, and must not be a declared bankrupt. If it a director or an employee or secretary of the company, then he or she must have authorisation from the board to make such a sworn statement. It should be dated and the location where it is made indicated
It must be as detailed as possible and written in the first-person. No exaggerations. No opinion. No hearsay, except if one quotes the source of the information. Facts should be clear and straightforward. Events should be written chronologically.
It must contain an averment that it is true. Without such an averment, then it is not a sworn statement.
It must be restricted to the issues of the case.
Examples of sworn statements are: Witness statement; Affidavit; Declaration; Deed poll; etc
Whatever you need, please get in touch with us for proper advice.
BY SAMALI BITALA
This article appears in our digital law newsletter, The Deuteronomy Vol 3, Issue 4 of March 23rd, 2018.
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