Superior Court Amends Civil Rules to Permit Unsworn Declarations

On January 31, 2011, the Superior Court of the District of Columbia issued Rule Promulgation Order 11-01 (“Order”) to amend Super Ct. Civ. R. 9-I (“Rule 9-I”) and Civil Action Form 101.

The Order amends Rule 9-I by, inter alia, adding a new section (e) to permit unsworn declarations (i.e., declarations that have not been notarized). Subsection (e)(1) states that unsworn declarations are permitted, “[u]nless otherwise provided by law, whenever any matter is required or permitted by these rules to be supported by the sworn written declaration, verification, certificate, statement, oath, or affidavit of a person.”  The unsworn declaration must be subscribed as true under penalty of perjury, and dated, in substantially the form specified which must appear directly above the person’s signature.   Subsection (e)(2) states that (e)(1) “does not apply to: (A) a deposition; (B) an oath of office; (C) an oath required to be given before a specified official other than a notary public; or (D) a declaration to be recorded with the Recorder of Deeds of the District of Columbia.”

The Order further amends section (a) of Rule 9-I and Civil Action Form 101 (which concern verification of pleadings) to conform with the requirements of section (e).

The commentary states that “[t]he rule is patterned after the United States District Court for the District of Columbia’s Local Rule 5.1(h); the federal declarations statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1746; and D.C. Code § 16-5306.”

The amendments to Rule 9-I and Civil Action Form 101 became effective on March 7, 2011.