Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Deposition

Quick Summary of Deposition

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.

What is the dictionary definition of Deposition?

Dictionary Definition

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.

  1. The removal of someone from office.
  2. The act of depositing material, especially by a natural process; the resultant deposit.
  3. The production of a thin film of material onto an existing surface.
  4. The process of taking sworn testimony out of court; the testimony so taken.

Full Definition of Deposition

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.

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Deposition. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 20, 2021
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Deposition. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: September 20, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Deposition. Retrieved September 20, 2021, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Deposition are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 27th April, 2020 | 47 Views.