Attorneys taking depositions in Europe will discover a few additional steps when scheduling. Within one continent, each country on the map will have its own rules, restrictions, and the like, making each one a new adventure! For example, Austria does not permit depositions at all. Other countries allow depositions but may require permission from their respective Hague Evidence Convention Central Authority. A global court reporting agency can help you sort through the can dos and the just don’ts. Read on for a few of the biggies.
Prior Permission Needed
Usually, prior permission from the Central Authority for The Hague Evidence Convention, or Ministry of Justice, is not required for American attorneys to depose an American citizen residing in a European country. Some (The Netherlands for example) require no such permission, regardless of the witness’ nationality. Sweden requires prior permission to take any deposition whatsoever, be your witness a Swede, a Canadian, or a Bolivian residing in Stockholm. Typically, if prior permission is required, it should be requested at least six weeks before the proposed deposition. It is possible a court order may need to be included in the formal request.
Germany requires all depositions be conducted before a U.S. consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt. The German Ministry of Justice must also approve the deposition. The initial request for approval should be submitted at least eight weeks before the desired deposition date. Deposition hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, and the Consulate is closed on both German and American holidays.
Quality Resources may be Limited
The U.K. makes depositions as easy as taking them in your own state. BUT, be aware, the court reporter MUST be a U.K stenographer. These prized professionals are in high demand, and are therefore booked ages in advance, so extensive planning is essential, and dates need to be solidified as early as possible.
Contact the U.S. Embassy
Some countries not only require permission from the Central Authority for The Hague Evidence Convention but are picky about from whom this request comes. You may need to get your Embassy to submit the request on your behalf before you can schedule the deposition. It is advisable to submit the request via the Embassy at least four weeks before the desired deposition date.
Scheduling coverage for your depositions in Europe may be the simplest part of the process. Working with a court reporting firm with reporters, videographers and interpreters living throughout Europe guarantees a team will be available and with minimal travel costs. Your court reporting firm can reserve a conference room where you can depose the witness comfortably and with all the technology you will need. They can also secure a qualified interpreter. Keep in mind, much like U.K. reporters, interpreters are in high demand everywhere in Europe, as it is a multi-lingual continent. Find out as early as possible if an interpreter is needed, and the language, and let the reporting agency do the rest!
For more information on depositions anywhere in Europe, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767, fill out our Quick Questions form, or easily schedule your international deposition now.
By Suzanne Quinson