Statutory Declarations Amendment Bill 2023 (Provisions)
The Law Council of Australia provided a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee in relation to its inquiry into the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Amendment Bill 2023.
Temporary measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic period that have allowed for the electronic execution of Commonwealth statutory declarations are due to expire on 31 December 2023. The Bill proposes to make these measures permanent, through amendments to the Statutory Declarations Act 1959 (Cth), providing that a Commonwealth statutory declaration can be executed in one of three ways:
- traditional paper-based execution, using ink signatures and in-person witnessing;
- electronically, by allowing electronic signatures and witnessing via an audio-visual communication link; or
- digitally verified, through the use of an approved online platform that verifies the digital identity of the declarant through an approved identity service.
The Law Council acknowledges the assistance of the Law Society of New South Wales, the Law Society of South Australia, and the Queensland Law Society in preparing this submission. The Law Council is also grateful for the guidance of its Business Law Section.