Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One

Last updated on March 31, 2022

Hand on a book

What is an Affidavit?

An affidavit is a signed statement made on oath (if the person making the affidavit is Christian) or on affirmation (if the person making the affidavit is not a Christian).

It is a document a deponent (the person making an affidavit of what he has witnessed) makes voluntarily, setting out his personal knowledge or belief pertaining to a particular set of facts or events.

The statements made in an affidavit by the deponent can be used in court as proof of what he has witnessed.

Who Can Make an Affidavit?

Anyone with intellectual capacity to take an oath or make an affirmation may make an affidavit.

There is no legal requirement as to the age of the deponent. However, a child must be mature enough to understand the facts in the affidavit and the legal and moral significance of an oath or affirmation.

What are Affidavits Used For?

Affidavits are the main way to present evidence (facts of the case) to the court. They are used mainly in interlocutory proceedings and for adducing evidence (explained below) at trials.

Common Types of Affidavits

Some of the most common types of affidavits are listed below:

Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief (AEIC)

  • There are 2 modes of commencing an action: by an originating claim or by an originating application. Parties who commence civil proceedings must file and exchange Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief (AEIC).
  • AEICs contain sworn statements by the parties’ witnesses which will stand as their testimony at trial. Witnesses will be cross-examined on their AEICs during trial.
  • If parties wish to give evidence orally instead of through an AEIC, permission of the court is first required.
  • A witness cannot, without the court’s permission, give evidence-in-chief at trial which is not contained in his affidavit. If the witness wishes to testify on events that occurred after his/her affidavit had been filed, the court has power to direct that a supplementary affidavit be exchanged to include such events.
  • The AEIC that has been exchanged between the parties cannot be amended. If an error is discovered, the witness has to swear on a fresh affidavit explaining how the error came about and correcting the error.
  • AEICs are not used in criminal cases.

Affidavits of Assets and Means

  • Affidavits of Assets and Means are only used in divorce cases.
  • After the granting of an interim judgment for a divorce case, if parties have decided to apply for ancillary relief, both parties would have to submit an Affidavit of Assets and Means to the court. They would have to disclose all the information on their assets, income, expenses, liabilities and financial and non-financial contributions made to the family.

Affidavit for bail and release on personal bond

  • Affidavits for bail and release on personal bond are used in criminal cases.
  • This affidavit is required, unless otherwise stated, in an application to the General Division of the High Court for bail or release on personal bond.
  • The affidavit must contain sufficient facts to enable the court determine whether or not the bail or release should be granted.

Content of Affidavits

The contents of an affidavit depend on the type of affidavit you are filing. For civil proceedings, the contents of the affidavit must follow Order 15 rule 25 of the Rules of Court.

A general rule for affidavits is that the deponent is entitled to refer to only facts of which he or she has personal knowledge. The deponent is not supposed to state his conclusions on his evidence or to include arguments which express his point of view.

Bombastic language, legal arguments and embellishments also should not be included in an affidavit.

As a summary, an affidavit:

  • Contains facts within the affiant’s personal knowledge;
  • Is based on direct observation and personal experience; and
  • May contain statements of belief but there must be some basis for the belief so stated.

The court has power to reject scandalous, irrelevant or oppressive matters present in an affidavit. The court also has inherent power to take an affidavit off the file or disallow costs if the affidavit is too long-winded.

Full and Frank Disclosure Required

Full and frank disclosure is required in affidavits. This means that the deponent must disclose to the court everything they know that might be material. This is even if what they know is prejudicial to their own claim.

The disclosure of material facts must be accompanied by all relevant context to constitute full and frank disclosure. The document is also to be brought to the judge’s attention to be considered to have been “disclosed”.

If there is non-disclosure or insufficient disclosure, the affidavit, or the application to which the affidavit applies, may be set aside.

Format of Affidavits

Affidavits must be written in specific format as prescribed by the State Courts Practice DirectionsSupreme Court Practice Directions or Family Justice Practice Directions, whichever is applicable depending on which court the case is being heard in.

Some affidavits come with a prescribed template provided by law. These are “forms” where deponents are provided guidance on what must be included in the affidavit.

For example, Form 206 is the template provided in the Family Justice Practice Directions for what needs to be disclosed and included in an Affidavit of Assets and Means.

For civil proceedings, affidavits must also follow the format stated in Order 15 rule 19 of the Rules of Court. For example, the affidavit must be divided into paragraphs that are numbered consecutively with each paragraph confined to a distinct portion of the subject written.

If the affidavit format requirements are not complied with, the court may reject the affidavit. The court may also order costs against the non-complying party.

How to Swear or Affirm an Affidavit

Process of swearing/affirming an affidavit

Affidavits must be sworn or affirmed by the deponent before the court or a person acting judicially, usually by a Commissioners for Oaths in Singapore.

The deponent must therefore sign the affidavit in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths for the affidavit to be valid.

Read our other article for the fees charged by Commissioners for Oaths for affirming an affidavit in Singapore.

Affirming in a foreign language

If the deponent is unable to understand English, the deponent may swear or affirm the affidavit before a Commissioner for Oaths proficient in a language or dialect that the deponent speaks and understands.

Alternatively, a qualified interpreter can be engaged to ensure that the deponent fully understands the content of the affidavit before affirmation.

Affirmation by a company

Generally, an officer of the company such as the director, manager, secretary or other principal officer can affirm an affidavit on behalf of the company.

A letter of authorisation through a board resolution may be required as well to show that the officer is authorised to affirm the affidavit.

Affirmation of affidavits while overseas

Affidavits can be affirmed overseas as well. For more information, please refer to our article on how to affirm an affidavit outside of Singapore.

Publication of affidavits

Affidavits should not be published in the public domain before they have been admitted as evidence. Such publication could risk prejudicing or interfering with court proceedings, and undermine the administration of justice as a whole.

Publication of affidavits which have not been adduced as evidence may amount to contempt of court which can lead to fines and/or imprisonment.

Filing of Affidavits

Filing of affidavits in Singapore is done using the eLitigation electronic filing system. The steps for electronic filing of affidavits may be found here.

Where required, affidavits can be filed physically at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic service bureaus as well.

What Happens After Your Affidavit has been Admitted as Evidence?

For actions commenced by an originating claim, the witness who made the affidavit must generally attend trial for cross-examination.

In any other case, such as applications made by an originating application, it is usually unnecessary for the witnesses who file affidavits to be cross-examined. However, the court may still order the witness to be cross-examined if required.

Regardless of whether the action is commenced by an originating claim or by originating application, the court has the power to order that the evidence be given orally if it thinks it would be just to do so.

If the witness does not attend the hearing even though he/she has been ordered by the court to be cross-examined, the witness’ affidavit will not be received as evidence unless the court gives permission for its admission.

As different types of affidavits are regulated by multiple rules, the process of writing and submitting an affidavit may be daunting to the layperson.

It is therefore recommended that you engage a qualified lawyer to assist you should you need to draft and/or file an affidavit.

Before Making a Claim
  1. Drafting an Enforceable Settlement Agreement in Singapore
  2. Should I Make A Police Report or Should I Sue?
  3. Differences between Criminal Law and Civil Law
  4. Should You Sue? 8 Things to Think About Before Suing
  5. How to Write a Cease and Desist Letter in Singapore
  6. Limitation Periods: What's the Deadline for Suing in Singapore?
  7. What to Do If Someone Sues Your Singapore Business
  8. Arbitration and Mediation: When They Can be Useful for Business Disputes
  9. Can I Sue a Foreigner or Foreign Company in Singapore?
  10. Mediation in Singapore
  11. Arbitration: When and How to Arbitrate Business Disputes in Singapore
  12. Third-Party Funding for Litigation in Singapore
  13. Using Neutral Evaluation to Resolve Civil Disputes in Singapore
Making a Claim - The Beginning of a Dispute
  1. What is a Breach of Confidence and How to Prove It
  2. Victim of a Wire Fraud? Here’s What You Can Do
  3. How to File an Originating Claim in a Singapore Lawsuit
  4. How to Bring a Class-Action Lawsuit in Singapore
  5. Letters of Demand and Their Usages in Singapore
  6. Law on Writ of Summons in Singapore
  7. Received a "Without Prejudice" Letter? Here’s What It Means
  8. What if I Cannot Find the Party I Want to Sue?
  9. Filing a Claim with the Small Claims Tribunals in Singapore
  10. First Meeting With Your Business Dispute Lawyer: What to Expect
  11. Negotiating a Settlement in a Business Dispute
  12. Security of Payment Act: Claiming Progress Payments for Construction Work Done
  13. Engaging a Queen’s Counsel or King's Counsel in Singapore
The Litigation Process
  1. Can You Withdraw Your Court Case in Singapore?
  2. Wasting the Court’s Time and Resources: Legal Consequences
  3. Natural Justice Explained: Your Right to a Fair & Unbiased Hearing
  4. Civil Litigation: How to Sue in Singapore (Step-by-Step Guide)
  5. Originating Application: What It Is and How to File in Singapore
  6. Notice of Intention to Contest or Not Contest: What is It?
  7. Affidavits in Singapore: What Are They & How to Prepare One
  8. Default Judgments and Summary Judgments in Singapore
Matters relating to Witnesses and Evidence
  1. Can My Minor Child be Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness?
  2. Giving Evidence via Video Link in a Singapore Lawsuit
  3. Prima Facie: What Does It Mean and How to Establish
  4. Hearsay Evidence: Admissibility and Objection of It in Singapore
  5. Admissibility of Evidence in the Singapore Courts
  6. Subpoenaed to be a Court Witness in Singapore: What You Need to Do
  7. Who is an Expert Witness and How to Use Expert Evidence in Singapore
  8. Destroying and Tampering With Evidence in Singapore
  9. A Guide to Legal DNA Testing in Singapore
Remedies Available for Civil Litigation
  1. Types of Injunctions in Singapore
  2. Specific Performance: Obtaining this Equitable Remedy in Singapore
  3. Judicial Review in Singapore: What is It and How to Apply
After the Lawsuit
  1. After the Lawsuit: Who Has to Pay Whom, and How Much?
  2. Enforcement of Court Judgments and Orders in Singapore
  3. How to Get an Order for Seizure and Sale to Enforce a Judgment