London is a city famed for many things, deservedly so: Big Ben, the Queen, policemen in funny hats, double-decker buses, the Abbey (Westminster or Downton), to name but a few of hundreds. One tidbit about London that requires notice is that scheduling last-minute depositions is extremely difficult.
The U.K. makes scheduling depositions easy and straightforward in many regards. No prior permission is required per The Hague Evidence Convention, and there are neither requirements nor restrictions regarding where depositions may be held.
As long as a reporter and videographer are reserved early, scheduling depositions in London is a smooth process. However, if a court reporter and videographer are not found and confirmed well in advance of the deposition, that smooth process can become quite bumpy and induce panic.
Court reporters are in high demand throughout the U.K. (and keep in mind, they frequently cover proceedings on the Continent as well, further limiting availability). As such, these sought-after reporters are normally booked weeks to months in advance. If you wait until just a week or two before your London deposition to schedule the court reporter, you may find all the U.K. reporters not on other London jobs are packing their bags for a week-long arbitration in Paris!
Additionally, the U.K. zealously guards the field of court reporting, making it impossible to fly in a reporter from outside to cover your depositions. This is a nation of great writers (Shakespeare! Wilde! Wodehouse!), and there are plenty of excellent reporters, as well. The issue is that the demand for these professionals keeps them constantly working, and free days are snapped up quickly!
Alternatives to a local London court reporter
If a deposition comes together quickly and no reporter is available in the U.K., a videoconference may be the easiest solution, and will also save travel costs for the attorneys and their team. Just make sure to conduct a test call prior to the deposition, confirming the connection to ensure a smooth deposition.
Counsel will need to agree beforehand as well to stipulate that the reporter may still administer the oath, though not present with the witness, and that no objection will be made to the validity of the deposition based on the reporter administering the oath in this way. If the deposition is being videotaped, it is best to have the videographer present with the witness for better quality video.
Mobile videoconference (laptop to laptop) is another solution, especially appealing to a cost-conscious client, as it is less pricey than traditional videoconference. If mobile videoconference is chosen, it is recommended that a technician be present with the witness to monitor the connection on that side. The videographer, if there is one, can do this while also recording the witness.
Schedule your London deposition today
Planet Depos has been covering depositions in London and around the world for over a decade. With reporting professionals positioned throughout the world, Planet Depos is committed to making it happen for attorneys taking depositions wherever their case takes them. For more information on international depositions, or to schedule, fill out our international request form, or call us at 888.433.3767.
By Suzanne Quinson