Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
An important tool used in pretrial discovery where one party questions the other party or a witness in the case. Often conducted in an attorney’s office, a deposition requires that all questions be answered under oath and be recorded by a court reporter, who creates a deposition transcript. Increasingly, depositions are being videotaped. Any deponent may be represented by an attorney. At trial, deposition testimony can be used to cast doubt on (impeach) a witness’s contradictory testimony or to refresh the memory of a suddenly forgetful witness. If a deposed witness is unavailable when the trial takes place — for example, if he or she has died — the deposition may be read to the jury in place of live testimony.
n. the taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom before trial. A deposition is part of permitted pre-trial discovery (investigation), set up by an attorney for one of the parties to a lawsuit demanding the sworn testimony of the opposing party (defendant or plaintiff), a witness to an event, or an expert intended to be called at trial by the opposition. If the person requested to testify (deponent) is a party to the lawsuit or someone who works for an involved party, notice of time and place of the deposition can be given to the other side’s attorney, but if the witness is an independent third party, a subpoena must be served on him/her if he/she is reluctant to testify. The testimony is taken down by the court reporter, who will prepare a transcript if requested and paid for, which assists in trial preparation and can be used in trial either to contradict (impeach) or refresh the memory of the witness, or be read into the record if the witness is not available.
A deposition is part of the pre-trial investigation where each party has the right to take an oral statement from a witness under oath before the trial. The deposition is done by opposing legal counsel so they can discover evidence prior to the trial. Information gathered at the deposition can be presented later in court. The intent of the deposition is to learn all of the facts before the trial.
Experts suggest there is no reason to “prepare” for a deposition. Do not read documents or other material but rely entirely on materials provided by your lawyer. It is also not a good idea to discuss your case with anyone other than your lawyer. For your deposition, you should give an accurate, clear and believable account of your accident and the facts surrounding your case, be prepared and be a believable witness.
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This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 47 Views.