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In a workplace investigation, what is the difference between signed statements and affidavits?

When collecting evidence as part of a workplace investigation, it is important to ensure that it is documented correctly in the event of legal proceedings down the track.

There are two primary forms of formal documents that will be put together in a workplace investigation: written and signed statements, as well as affidavits – both of which are important, but carry separate roles.

What is a signed statement in a workplace investigation?

A signed statement is fairly self-explanatory. It is a written statement that includes the signatures of all parties including the date.

During a workplace investigation, you will collect statements from the complainant and all witnesses that are relevant to the case. Each statement will provide insights that will provide a whole picture of what has occurred and assist in forming an objective view which can help deliver an outcome.

A witness statement should include questions that are only relevant to the matter being investigated and should always include expansion and clarity for any answers that are incomplete or unclear. While these statements can be initially hand-written, the final version should be typed.

Only the parties involved in the statement need to sign it, unlike an affidavit which requires witnesses to sign as well. These written statements are primarily used to gain insights and get a holistic view on the issue rather than being actual legally binding documents. That means there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to how you format these statements.

What about affidavits?

 These are legally binding documents that are sworn under oath and will carry significant weight in court. Equally, if a party falsifies an affidavit, they risk a penalty of perjury.

You can’t just use any witness either.  They have to be authorised to sign affidavits and usually include Justices of the Peace or legal representatives.  Written statements may include opinions on what may or may not have happened in a workplace whereas affidavits need to be an account of facts only.

Why you should enlist professionals for an affidavit?

Because these are legally binding documents that need to be authorised and signed by the proper legal representatives, they can be tendered as evidence in court. Affidavits are legally crucial and, as a consequence, highly complex documents that carry major penalties if you get it wrong – intentionally or not.

If a workplace investigation involves police intervention or has the possibility of ending up in court, then these affidavits need to be 100 per cent correct to ensure the right outcome is delivered and no unnecessary penalties are meted out.

Precise Investigation has the team with the appropriate expertise you need to conduct all of your workplace cases, including all of the right written statements and affidavits to ensure the right outcome is achieved. Contact our team today.

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For extra support or assistance with your case, please do not hesitate to contact us at or Tel: 03 9564 7303.


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