What is Affidavit?

Legal Definition
An affidavit (/ˌæfˈdvt/ A-fə-DAY-vət) is a written sworn statement of fact voluntarily made by an affiant or deponent under an oath or affirmation administered by a person authorized to do so by law. Such statement is witnessed as to the authenticity of the affiant's signature by a taker of oaths, such as a notary public or commissioner of oaths. The name is Medieval Latin for he/she has declared upon oath. An affidavit is a type of verified statement or showing, or in other words, it contains a verification, meaning it is under oath or penalty of perjury, and this serves as evidence to its veracity and is required for court proceedings. It is done with the help of court, with a stamp paper. Affidavits may be written in the first or third person, depending on who drafted the document. If in the first person, the document's component parts are typically as follows:

  • A commencement which identifies the "affiant of truth", generally stating that everything in it is true, under penalty of perjury, fine, or imprisonment
  • An attestation clause, usually a jurat, at the end certifying the affiant made oath and the date
  • Signatures of the author and witness

If an affidavit is notarized or authenticated, it will also include a caption with a venue and title in reference to judicial proceedings. In some cases, an introductory clause, called a preamble, is added attesting that the affiant personally appeared before the authenticating authority.
-- Wikipedia
Legal Definition
A voluntarily sworn declaration of written facts. Affidavits are commonly used to present evidence in court. see, e.g. Edenfield v. Fane, 507 US 761 (1993).

See Category: Courts and Procedure
Legal Definition
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. Gresl. Eq. Ev. 413. Vide Harr. Dig. h. t.

2. 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. Sell. Pr. 104; 1 Chit. R. 165; S. C. 18 Com. Law, R. 59 note; Id. 99.

3. An affidavit of defence, is made by a defendant or a person knowing the facts, in which must be stated a positive ground of defence on the merits. 1 Ashm. R. 4, 19, n. 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 defence may be rendered against au. 8 Watts, R. 367. Vide Bac. Ab. h. t.
-- Bouviers Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
A written or printed declaration or statement of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by the oath or affirmation of the party making it, token before an officer having authority to administer such oath. Co.x v. Stem, 170 III. 442, 48 N. E. 906, 62 Am. St Rep. 385; Hays v. Loomis, 34 III. 18. An affidavit is a written declaration under oath, made without notice to the adverse party. Code Civ. Proc. Cal. § 2003; Code Civ. Proc. Dak. § 464. An affidavit is an oath in writing, sworn before and attested by him who hath authority to administer the same. Knapp v. Duclo, 1 Mich. N. P. 189. An affidavit is always taken ex parte, and in this respect it is distinguished from a deposition, the matter of which is elicited by questions, and which affords an opportunity for cross-examination. In re Liter's Estate, 19 Mont. 474, 48 Pac. 753.
See also
-- Black's Law Dictionary
Legal Definition
"He has sworn". A formal statement of fact.
Legal Definition
A signed statement sworn to before an authorized officer. See 50 Am. St. Rep. 162.
-- Ballentine's Law Dictionary