Ensuring you have an airtight affidavit of service
As a process server, our affidavits are our ultimate work product. Our clients rely on us to produce legible, professional affidavits that will be accepted by the court. Understanding court requirements is essential for this to happen.
We understand that we are acting as an extension of our clients, and therefore take all the necessary steps to ensure our clients are represented in the most professional manner at all times. This includes the production of professional, court approved affidavits of service.
What is an affidavit?
Accordingly to the British Dictionary the word is from Medieval Latin and means a declaration in writing made upon oath before a person authorised to administer oaths, especially for use as evidence in court.
In simple terms an affidavit is a written statement of facts, voluntarily made, sworn or affirmed and signed by a deponent (a person who makes a deposition or affidavit under oath) before a person authorised by law to do so. In other words, when you sign an affidavit, you’re simply attesting, under law, that you swear a statement written in the affidavit is true.
A good way to think of an affidavit is as a sort of written court testimony. Where, in a court of law, you’d have to place your hand on a Bible and swear that you’re telling the truth and nothing but the truth, on an affidavit, you simply do this in writing. You’re under oath, but you’re on paper.
In New Zealand you can either swear on oath or affirm before an authorised person. The document is known as an affidavit if its contents are sworn on oath on a religious scripture. The document is known as an affirmation if its contents are said to be true but an oath is not sworn on a religious scripture.
How to find a lawfully authorised person?
You can ask a person from any of the following groups to complete your affidavit:
Court Registrar or Deputy Registrar of the District or High Court
Justice of the Peace
An enrolled barrister or solicitor
Some overseas documentation must be sworn before a Notary Public. A notary public in New Zealand is a lawyer authorised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in England to officially witness signatures on legal documents, collect sworn statements, administer oaths and certify the authenticity of legal documents usually for use overseas.
The affidavit used by Process Servers
An affidavit in process serving, also known as affidavit of service or proof of service, is a document provided by the process server that states the pertinent facts of the service including name of defendant, date and time of service, name of person providing service, etc.
It’s an official document that confirms a service has been effected. In most cases it gets filed with the court. In the case of a non-service, an affidavit of due diligence can be provided, which outlines all the steps taken to effect service.
Creating professional affidavits of service
At Docuserve we have an in-house serve management software that enables us to record in real time all the required details when a serve is effected. This makes creating a professional, court approved affidavit of service quick and simple.
If we have been unable to effect service, all efforts are recorded by date and time. This information can easily be collated into a comprehensive affidavit if required.
Types of affidavits of service
There is a basic standard template that applies to all affidavits of service in New Zealand. This will vary according to the nature of the proceedings. For example…
Was the document served personally on an individual or was it handed to a person at the Registered Office for a company?
Does the court require a copy of the document/s served be attached as an exhibit to the affidavit of service (as is often the case in High Court proceedings) or will a list of documents served, along with the documents date suffice?
For Family Proceedings in addition to an affidavit of service an acknowledgement of service also needs to be drafted. In this instance when accepting the family papers the respondent is asked to confirm that they have been served by signing the acknowledgement. If they refuse it doesn’t mean that the matter won’t proceed. The process server will need to draft an affidavit of service that reflects the respondents refusal to sign the acknowledgment.
When we complete an affidavit of service for dissolution of marriage documents the court also requires that a photograph of the respondent be attached as an exhibit. Our sworn affidavit of service then accompanies an affidavit of identification that the applicant needs to swear or affirm in front of a court registrar or Justice of the Peace before returning to the Family Court in Wellington.
Let us take care of this for you
Drafting and swearing a court approved affidavit of service is critical for keeping a case moving. Tight timelines mean there is no room for error. For our clients who are time poor utilising our in-house admin service to complete this task is a no brainer.