Conducting an international deposition can be tricky. But when you avoid key pitfalls, you can be confident you will get the testimony you need for your case.
- Assuming a U.S. Deposition is Legal in Other Countries
The most essential step in organizing any international deposition is to find out whether you can legally hold a U.S. deposition in that country. Many countries have prohibitions or restrictions on depositions. For example, a deposition in China can be particularly difficult to perform because China does not allow foreigners to take depositions. A deposition in Japan must take place at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Additionally, Japan requires attorneys traveling for a deposition to obtain a special deposition visa.
Because restrictions on depositions vary so much by country, you will have to conduct country-specific research to determine the applicable procedures in the country where your witness is located. The U.S. Department of State website is a great resource for finding out this information and can give you a quick overview of the official rules before you schedule a deposition.
- Failing to Consider Whether the Country Is Part of The Hague Evidence Convention
The Hague Evidence Convention allows you to enlist the help of a foreign court to compel the deposition of an overseas witness in countries that are parties to the agreement. Fifty-seven countries are parties to the Hague Evidence Convention. Thus, another essential step when planning a foreign deposition is determining whether the country where your witness is located has signed on to the Convention.
To use the Convention, you must start by asking a U.S. court to issue a letter of request seeking the deposition of your overseas witness. The letter of request must follow a specific format, found in Article 3 of the Convention, but it is very straightforward. The benefit of the Hague Convention is that foreign courts are generally obligated by the Hague Convention to carry out a letter of request.
- Failing to Book a Local Court Reporter, Interpreter, and Videographer Early
At the very least, working with a local, certified and professional court reporter, videographer, and interpreter can help reduce travel costs. More importantly, you’ll be working with people who understand the culture of the country where you will be conducting your deposition. Professionals who are familiar with local communication norms and styles can help you more successfully navigate an international deposition. Working with local professionals will help ensure your team has the requisite cultural sensitivity and cultural competence to avoid offending the officials, attorneys, and witnesses you are interacting with. It is extremely important to plan as early as possible so that you can hire the right personnel. Remember that you might also need the services of a deposition translator. Give yourself ample time to research and schedule the professionals you need to help make conducting your foreign deposition easier.
Avoid Pitfalls with Aptus Court Reporting
With decades of combined experience, Aptus Court Reporting has been helping attorneys conduct successful depositions across the country. No matter where your cases take you, Aptus is a valuable resource to leverage along the way. Contact us online or by phone at 866-999-8310.