A statement of facts which is sworn to (or affirmed) before an officer who has authority to administer an oath (e.g. a notary public). A statement which before being signed, the person signing takes an oath that the contents are, to the best of their knowledge, true. It is also signed by a notary or some other judicial officer that can administer oaths, to the effect that the person signing the affidavit was under oath when doing so. These documents carry great weight in Courts to the extent that judges frequently accept an affidavit instead of the testimony of the witness and are used in place of live testimony in many circumstances (for example, when a motion is filed, a supporting affidavit may be filed with it).
Practice. An oath or affirmation reduced to writing, sworn or affirmed to before some officer who has authority to administer it. It differs from a deposition in this, that in the latter the opposite party has had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness, whereas an affidavit is always taken ex parte.
Affidavit To Hold To Bail, is in many cases required before the defendant can be arrested; such affidavit must be made by a person who is acquainted with the fact, and must state, 1st, an indebtedness from the defendant to the plaintiff; 2dly, show a distinct cause of action; 3dly, the whole must be clearly and certainly, expressed.
An Affidavit Of Defense, is made by a defendant or a person knowing the facts, in which must be stated a positive ground of defense on the merits. It has been decided that when a writ of summons has been served upon three defendants, and only one appears, a judgment for want of an affidavit of defense may be rendered against all.
This entry contains material from Bouvier's Legal Dictionary, a work published in the 1850's.
Courtesy of the 'Lectric Law Library
A written statement made under oath before an officer of the court,a notary public, or another person legally authorized to certify the statement.