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La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Paris, image by Brittany Davies

La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Paris, image by Brittany Davies

Depositions of U.S. citizens in France may be conducted with no special requirements or restrictions.  When deposing a French citizen or third-country national, however, the process becomes a little more involved and tedious.  The first step is to request authorization from the Bureau de l’Entraide Judiciaire International of the Ministry of Justice.  Documentation must reach the U.S. Embassy/Consulate no later than 45 days before the proposed deposition.  If an attorney is to be commissioned to take the depositions, the Embassy is not involved, and the request goes directly to:

Ministère de la Justice
Direction des Affaires civiles et du Sceau
Bureau de l’Entraide judiciaire en Matière civile et commercial
13, place Vendôme
75042 Paris Cedex 01

All documents must be sent in French, or include a French translation.  The request must include the following:

  1. The commission to take the deposition, referring to The Hague Convention with specific information on:
    1. The name of the court
    2. The name of the judge/issuing authority
    3. The names and addresses of all parties to the proceedings, and their representatives
    4. The names and addresses of the deponents
    5. Either a list of questions to be put to the witnesses, or a statement of the subject matter on which they are to be questioned
    6. Whether the parties to the case have consented to the deposition; if not, reasons for any objection
    7. The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the court reporter, videographer, and interpreter who have been selected, if any
  2. The authority requesting authorization as well as the authority requested to grant it, or the “appropriate judicial authority in France
  3. The nature of the proceedings, and all necessary information pertaining to it
  4. The evidence to be obtained
  5. Documents or other property to be inspected
  6. Whether the evidence is to be given under oath, and any specific form of oath which must be used
  7. Whether any special procedure should be followed in taking the evidence
  8. An explanation as to why this method of taking evidence has been chosen, taking into account the judicial costs involved
  9. The criteria for designating the individual commissioned to take evidence

The Ministry of Justice requires all of the above information no later than 45 days before the proposed deposition.  In addition, it must be explained why the deposition is not being held on Embassy/Consulate grounds, if so.  It is common for depositions to be taken off Embassy/Consulate grounds, however.  The deposition must be open to the public.  The date and time of the deposition must be provided to the Ministry of Justice prior to the deposition date.  The witness must be summoned by written notice, in French, at least 15 days prior to the deposition, and this notice must include assurances that appearances are voluntary, that a lawyer may represent the witness, and that the parties to the case have consented to the deposition.

For more information on depositions in France, or to schedule, contact Planet Depos International Scheduling at 888.433.3767 or

Author Profile
Suzanne Quinson
Case Manager at

Suzanne Quinson is a Case Manager with Planet Depos. She lives in Frederick, MD, with her jaunty Jack Russell Bocephus, spending much of her free time touring the area in his company.  She loves her hometown Philly, Penn State, P.G. Wodehouse, history, baking and eating, among other things.


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