Depositions are an important part of many trials, and there is a lot to understand about their process. If you will be participating in a deposition, or your lawyer is conducting a deposition for your case, then it may be helpful for you to have a general understanding of what will be involved.
What Is a Deposition?
A deposition is the oral testimony of a witness and takes place out of court, usually in a lawyer’s office. The witness’ testimony is documented in writing and can later be referred to in court by either party. A deposition is also called an examination for discovery, or an examination before trial.
- A deposition is where the attorneys gather information in preparation for the trial.
- Both attorneys are allowed to ask questions of the witness.
- The witness must answer aloud, as a recording won’t record a nod or any facial recognition.
- After the first attorney has asked their questions, the second attorney will have their chance to ask questions in cross-examination.
- There is a limit of only ten depositions of various witnesses per side allowed.
- A deposition can only last for seven hours in one day.
Who Is Usually Present in a Deposition?
There are certain people who are almost always present at a deposition. This includes the court reporter to provide the transcription and deposition services and at least one lawyer for each side. There are no limitations on who can attend the depositions unless there is a protective order in place.
- If there is someone that you don’t want at the deposition, the burden is on you to prove “good cause” for why they shouldn’t be there, according to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(c)(1)(E).
- Good cause entails that the order is required to protect the person from oppression, embarrassment, undue expense or undue burden.
- This is different from a trial, where a witness can be excluded as requested by the party.
When is A Deposition Necessary?
This usually depends on the circumstances and various facts of the case. If the case hinges on proving certain circumstances and the details of what happened, a deposition is a common part of the discovery process. Sometimes, the information obtained from the deposition opens the door for a settlement to take place. A settlement agreement negates the need to go to court and can be a cost and time savings. If you would like to know more about what you’re likely to experience in a deposition for your case, consult your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, contact a law firm as soon as possible.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Veritext for their insight into depositions