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Snapshot

  • An affidavit may now be electronic, using no paper whatsoever.
  • Deponents and witnesses may electronically sign draft affidavits in Portable Document Format (‘PDF’) when making a paperless affidavit.
  • Such affidavits can be perfectly legible and machine-readable, absent the distortion of printing, signing and scanning, provided solicitors understand the three different types of PDFs.

I have practised law long enough to have used a bodkin with red tape. These were the law clerk’s tools when assembling lengthy legal documents written on paper, such as affidavits. Bodkins were, and still are, glowingly advertised as bearing ‘a steel and wood construction to withstand excessive use’. When I was a law clerk, I sometimes had to apply my entire body weight to pierce through a thick paper affidavit when binding the annexures to it with red tape. Fast forward a couple of decades, the COVID-19 pandemic propelled Parliament to alter the ancient practice of the bodkin and red tape for making affidavits without paper.

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