June 01, 2011

Global Litigator: Successful Depositions in International Litigation

Navigating the complex, confusing rules applicable to foreign depositions and transborder discovery can be confusing, but litigators can minimize problems by following the steps described in this article.

Craig Allely

 Download a printable PDF of this article (members only).

Taking depositions abroad can often feel like stepping out of a comfortable, monochrome Kansas farmhouse into the strange, multihued world of the unknown. Each year, as litigation and discovery involving nonresident parties and nonresident witnesses grows more common, more and more of us will find ourselves searching for our own private Oz: a discovery or preservation deposition that we can actually use.

Navigating the complex, confusing, and often Byzantine rules applicable to foreign depositions and transborder discovery promises to give most practitioners a renewed appreciation for the simplicity and effectiveness of the federal rules. For a useful introduction, see the State Department’s Judicial Assistance Webpage at  or consult each embassy’s own webpage. For a handy list, see www.usembassy.gov.

But no matter where the foreign deposition is to take place, the basic ingredients for success, as we shall see, are:

• a willing witness,

• a friendly forum, and

• a competent interpreter.


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