August 15, 2019

A Complete Guide to Legal Depositions

By: Colleen Jilio-Ryan | Posted in: Deposition

complete guide to legal depositions

There are times when a person’s testimony can be recorded outside of court and played during the actual hearing. This normally works best when a witness is in a distant location or other circumstances prevent them from appearing in court. Depositions are used in these situations to help the witness testify just as they would do by appearing in the courtroom.

Read this guide to learn more about legal depositions.

What Is a Deposition?

A deposition is basically a witness’s sworn testimony that has been recorded in a secure environment. Depositions can be videotaped or recorded with the witness’s lawyer present. Under these circumstances, the testimony can then be used in court or other legal proceedings.

How Long Is a Deposition?

A legal deposition can take as long as needed for the witness to make their statement. However, states do put a limitation on how long a deposition can last per day, and it’s normally, seven hours per day.

Where Can Depositions Take Place?

Most depositions take place in a lawyer’s office. However, there are rules for where a deposition can be held if both parties agree to a secure location outside of the courthouse.

Preparing for a Deposition

While attorneys are prohibited from leading or coaching their witnesses, it is important that they go over any questions they may have at the beginning of the deposition. Addressing their concerns and talking to them about what to expect will make the witness more comfortable and the process will be much smoother.

Things to Avoid During a Deposition

There are several things you should avoid during a legal deposition, which includes:

  • Never leave people guessing about what is expected, so always give prior instructions.
  • Make the environment as comfortable as possible.
  • Never mumble or deviate from the written questions.
  • Always speak as clearly as possible, and make sure all of the questions to be asked are clearly and concisely written.
  • Advise the person giving the testimony to only offer information pertaining to the question being asked.
  • Minimize distractions by turning off cell phones or other devices that may disrupt the proceedings.

Who Should Attend a Deposition?

The nature of the legal deposition will determine who is required to attend. In most cases, attorneys for both parties should be present as well as the person being deposed. The number of people in attendance should be limited only to those who have a direct reason for being there.

Depositions play an important role in the legal process. They allow for a witness’ testimony to be heard even though they may not be able to attend the hearings physically. This guide will help you perform reliable depositions that can be confidently used during a court hearing or other legal process.

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