AFFIDAVIT, practice. An oath or affirmation reduced to writing, sworn or affirmed to before some officer who has authority to administer it. It differs from a deposition in this, that in the latter the opposite party has had an opportunity to cross-examine the witness, whereas an affidavit is always taken ex parte. Gresl. Eq. Ev. 413. Vide Harr. Dig. h. t.
2. Affidavit to hold to bail, is in many cases required before the defendant can be arrested; such affidavit must be made by a person who is acquainted with the fact, and must state, 1st, an indebtedness from the defendant to the plaintiff; 2dly, show a distinct cause of action; 3dly, the whole must be clearly and certainly, expressed. Sell. Pr. 104; 1 Chit. R. 165; S. C. 18 Com. Law, R. 59 note; Id. 99.
3. An affidavit of defence, is made by a defendant or a person knowing the facts, in which must be stated a positive ground of defence on the merits. 1 Ashm. R. 4, 19, n. It has been decided that when a writ of summons has been served upon three defendants, and only one appears, a judgment for want of an affidavit of defence may be rendered against au. 8 Watts, R. 367. Vide Bac. Ab. h. t.