Authentication of Documents
By Bernard Furidzo
In terms of the High Court (Authentication of Documents) Rules, 1971 authentication is defined as the verification of any signature on a document. The Rules further define a document as “any deed, written contract, power of attorney, affidavit or other writing…”
Any document which is executed outside Zimbabwe for production or use in any court in Zimbabwe or for production or lodging in any public office in Zimbabwe must be authenticated. Authentication may be done by a notary public, mayor or person holding judicial office or by a designated official of the Zimbabwean diplomatic or consular mission. Where an affidavit is sworn before and attested by a commissioner (appointed by the High Court to take affidavits and examine witnesses outside Zimbabwe) there shall be no need for further authentication.
In most cases people who sign documents outside Zimbabwe to be used in Zimbabwe appear and sign their documents before a Notary Public who usually puts his seal to the document. This is usually the case where a divorce litigant signs the consent paper, affidavit of evidence or affidavit of waiver, as the case may be outside the country. Apart from court documents, the other important document which needs authentication is the power of attorney. A person in South Africa or the United Kingdom for example may want to appoint an agent to conclude an agreement of sale and appear at ZIMRA for tax purposes. For the power of attorney to be valid it has to be authenticated.
The contents of this publication are for general information purposes only. They do not constitute our legal or professional advice. Readers are advised not to act on the basis of the information contained herein alone. Every situation depends on its own facts and circumstances. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.
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