4 Keys to Conducting Successful International Depositions

By: Gary Sharn, Vice President

International litigation continues to increase for U.S. companies operating in a global economy that is progressively interdependent. Forty-five percent of U.S. companies reported matters requiring cross-border discovery last year, up from 41% in 2017, according to Norton Rose Fulbright’s 2018 Litigation Trends survey.

For most lawyers and paralegals, however, conducting a deposition in a foreign country is not an everyday occurrence. There are scheduling challenges to navigate, unique procedural rules to follow, travel requirements to manage and occasional language barriers to overcome.  Without exception, international depositions require greater lead time (as much as six to eight weeks) to schedule.

Here are four keys to making sure that your international depositions are planned, scheduled and conducted successfully:

  1. Work with a deposition services provider experienced in supporting international depositions.

There is simply no substitute for good old-fashioned experience. Henderson Legal Services has provided court reporting services in 23 countries worldwide over the past two decades. These countries include England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Spain, India, Czech Republic,  Canada, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea,  Japan,  Philippines, Switzerland, Israel, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. This kind of experience working in foreign countries enables your deposition services provider to understand the process of scheduling depositions in international venues, anticipate challenges and manage them effectively.

  1. Verify that you will be working with an experienced, first-rate court reporter.

There is a wide disparity in the skill set from one court reporter to the next when it comes to experience working in a foreign country. There are fewer ways of evaluating an international court reporter’s experience and fewer options for replacing them on short notice if you wish to make a change. You should verify that your court reporting firm has an international depositions team.  This team should be consistently recruiting top-quality reporters in various international venues and/or working with affiliate court reporting firms outside the U.S. to supplement its roster. At Henderson Legal Services, many of the reporters we use abroad are expatriates who received their training and professional credentials in the U.S.

  1. Make sure that you have sufficient resources available on the ground.

Some international depositions can be taken remotely via deposition streaming technology, which eliminates the time and expense of foreign travel. But for those situations that require an in-person deposition, it’s important to have access to qualified personnel in the venue in which you will be working. In addition to experienced court reporters in those markets, you may also need skilled videographers who can assist with video depositions or qualified interpreters who can provide language translation. Henderson Legal Services has built a global network of service providers in multiple continents.

  1. Prepare in advance for any restrictions you may encounter in certain venues.

Deposition service providers can operate in most international venues without problems, but there are occasionally some important nuances or local restrictions that can make the process more difficult. For example, some countries have special rules for administering the oath and U.S. notary powers do not extend outside the United States.   Henderson Legal Services trains its court reporters to ask all parties involved to stipulate on the record that the reporter is authorized to administer the oath and swear in the witnesses.  Additionally, there are some countries — notably, China, Germany, Japan and India — with broader restrictions that must be understood in advance so you can take appropriate measures. For example, depositions are not permitted on mainland China so they must be taken in Hong Kong or Taiwan. In Germany and Japan, depositions are required to be taken on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Conducting depositions of witnesses located in foreign countries can be tricky, but with  the right deposition services provider on your team, you can be confident that all your requirements are covered. For more information or to schedule a deposition, please click here or call 877.548.8787.