Witnessing Affidavits & Grants of Probate during COVID-19

Posted 20 April 2020 

The Courts Administration Authority has advised that the recent Practice Note with regards to the  Witnessing of Affidavits during COVID-19 does not apply to the Probate Registry. The notice reads: "Applications to the Probate Registry are not included in the Practice Note released by the Supreme Court and District Court on 16 April 2020 titled Witnessing of Affidavits during COVID-19."

The Practice Note with regards to the witnessing affidavits during COVID-19 issued by the Courts reads as follows: 

The question as to how to witness affidavits during the current situation has been raised, given that deponents may be in social isolation, quarantine or vulnerable persons.
It is not appropriate for an oath to be taken via video link. Affidavits must continue to be witnessed in person, with appropriate safety precautions in place.
However, if for health or logistical reasons this is not possible, a solicitor should exhibit the deponent’s unsworn affidavit to his/her own affidavit, with an undertaking to file the sworn original once it is possible to have it sworn.
The solicitor’s affidavit should attest to:
1 the reasons why it was not possible for the exhibited affidavit to be sworn by the deponent;
2 the unsworn document has been prepared on the instructions of the deponent; 
3 the deponent has read the document and agrees with its content; and 
4 upon it becoming possible to do so, the deponent will swear/affirm the document.