Skip to main content

By Gabrielle Wasenius

In New York, attorneys have traditionally been permitted to submit affirmations to courts instead of affidavits, the law controlling this practice, CPLR 2106, removed the prior mandate for attorneys to acquire a notary public’s oath before presenting their sworn statements. The CPLR drafters believed that attorneys’ professional responsibilities and the potential for prosecution for false statements were adequate safeguards against dishonesty, thus eliminating the necessity for a notary public. Additionally, the law allowed specific medical professionals to affirm the veracity of their own statements.

In 2014, CPLR 2106 was amended to permit affirmations instead of affidavits from individuals located outside the United States, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory under U.S. jurisdiction. This change sometimes made obtaining a statement from someone overseas than from a person in a nearby state easier.

On October 25, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed two laws amending CPLR Rule 2106. Effective immediately, A06065 / S02997 expanded the scope of who can make affirmations in civil actions to include all licensed healthcare professionals. Effective January 1, 2024, A05772 and S05162 allowed affirmations in lieu of affidavits to be made by any person in a civil action. The new law applies to both new legal actions initiated on or after January 1, 2024, and to actions that are still pending as of the effective dates.

Now, a statement made by any individual and affirmed by that individual as true under penalty of perjury can be used in a legal action in New York as a substitute for an affidavit, with the same legal weight. The affirmation should contain this language:

I affirm this ___ day of ______, ____, under the penalties of perjury under the laws of New York, which may include a fine or imprisonment, that the foregoing is true, and I understand that this document may be filed in an action or proceeding in a court of law.


Keep in mind, the new CPLR 2106 does not eliminate the need for notarized affidavits and affirmations entirely. Notarization will still be required in cases where the law mandates the declarant to verify their identity or the document’s authenticity. Nonetheless, this amendment modernizes New York law, aligning it with practices in more than 20 other states. It will reduce the burden on litigants, witnesses, clerks, and courts. Moreover, it helps to overcome logistical and financial barriers, like trying to obtain a notarized document from a non-New York heir who is party to a New York action. Hopefully, this change reflects New York’s dedication to adapting its legal system to meet contemporary needs and challenges.

Leave a Reply