The U.K. re-opened earlier this year, leaving very few Covid-19 restrictions still in place. What does this mean for U.S. attorneys and their U.K. depositions? In-person depositions are back in the U.K., hybrid depositions are now easier to schedule, and fully remote depositions remain an option, as they always have been. Here are the details on depositions in the U.K. post-Covid.
Is prior permission required to conduct a deposition in the U.K.?
No. The U.K. is a party to The Hague Evidence Convention, but they do not require prior permission to depose a willing witness. Nor do they impose requirements/restrictions regarding where depositions may be held.
Where can you reserve a conference room?
Reserving space for your deposition is as straightforward as it was through early 2020. Tell your court reporting firm the city, specifying if one area is more convenient than another, and they will reserve the optimal space. Should the location have any health or safety-related guidelines, your court reporting firm will communicate them to all parties attending in person.
Are court reporters attending depositions in person?
Yes. Court reporters have been attending in-person depositions for a while in the U.K. This is excellent news as it is always ideal to have the court reporter present with the witness, particularly if the deposition is interpreted.
Pre-Covid, U.K. court reporters would book very quickly, and far in advance. These expert stenographers are in high demand throughout the U.K., and they keep full calendars. Keep in mind that they do also travel quite often to cover depositions and arbitrations throughout the rest of Europe. Though the schedule is not yet back to pre-Covid tightness, work is steadily increasing for U.K. reporters. You should schedule your deposition coverage as early as possible to ensure you have a reporter.
Could a U.S. reporter travel to the U.K. for the deposition?
No. The U.K. has very strict protections in place for their court reporters. Any non-U.K. citizen stenographer entering the country with stenography equipment runs the risk of detainment and confiscation of their professional equipment. You will need to schedule a U.K. court reporter for any depositions taking place in the U.K. Your international court reporting agency should make this quite easy, but as mentioned previously, it is best to schedule as far in advance as possible.
Where should the interpreter be?
The interpreter should always be in the presence of the witness if feasible. This ensures accurate interpretation and a more seamless deposition, with fewer interruptions to repeat information for clarification. The U.K. is a truly diverse nation, speaking many languages, and there is an interpreter for everyone. Interpreters, like court reporters, tend to be busy because they are in high demand. As soon as you determine an interpreter is required, let your court reporting agency know the language and dialect so they can book your interpreter.
Should the videographer be with the witness?
Ideally, the reporter, videographer and interpreter will all be in the same location as the witness. As Covid has demonstrated, it is possible to record quality video with a remote videographer. The court reporting agency can make it happen for you in the U.K. whichever way you prefer. Videographers also keep tight schedules, so if you opt for an in-person videographer, you will want to reserve your videographer as early as you can.
What are the travel requirements for U.S. citizens flying into the U.K.?
If you wish to attend a U.K. deposition in person, getting there will be as easy as international travel gets. The United Kingdom makes an appealing destination for many reasons, including low-key entry requirements.
- Passport must be valid for the duration of your planned stay
- One blank passport page required
- No visa required for U.S. citizens staying less than six months
- No vaccinations required
Remote depositions are and will continue to be a viable option for U.K. depositions.
Should there be no U.K. reporter available, for example, you can schedule a U.S. court reporter to attend remotely. Parties will need to agree beforehand to stipulate that the reporter, though not in the presence of the witness, may administer the oath. They will also need to agree to waive objections to the validity of the deposition due to the remote administration of the oath. A remote deposition is an option for those with health concerns as well. With the advances in remote technology over the past two years, international remote depositions have come a long way.
It is good to have options, and flexibility is improving with international depositions. As international travel increases so will in-person international depositions. Partner with a court reporting agency with real global presence to guarantee expert coverage of all the details of your case. Coordinating international depositions requires finesse. The international court reporting firm has the expertise, as well as reporters, videographers, and interpreters living all around the world to keep your case moving forward, wherever it takes you.
Planet Depos has been covering international depositions for over a decade. We have reporting professionals living throughout the world with experience in all case matters. For more information or to schedule your international depositions, contact Planet Depos International at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also schedule international depositions online.