Criminal Appeals and Litigation Blog

What is a Deposition?

Like most people, you may have never before been involved in litigation. It’s understandable you’ll have questions and, perhaps, some apprehension. A deposition, or examination before trial, is a pre-trial legal procedure in a lawsuit. The attorney for one party questions the other party, or a non-party witness, under oath regarding issues relevant to the case. All questions and answers and other words spoken are recorded by a stenographer on a stenographic machine and transcribed into a written document, the ‘transcript’.

The attorney who is questioning a party or a witness attempts to learn everything he or she can about the case in an effort to support the claims being made by his or her client.  The party being questioned -deposed – is accompanied by his or her own attorney to protect that party’s legal rights. Court rules require depositions to be conducted with civility.  This infographic covers some general rules governing a witness’ conduct at a deposition.

A deposition is conducted before trial to assist the parties and their attorneys in settlement negotiations.

What is a Deposition? Infographic
Title: ASK THE LAWYER: What is a Deposition?
Your attorney will discuss the specifics of any depositions in your particular case, but there are some general guidelines governing a witness’ conduct at a deposition.
• Your attorney will discuss the specifics of any depositions in your particular case, but there are some general guidelines governing a witness’ conduct at a deposition.
• Take your time. Think about your answer before you speak.
• Do not guess. If you don’t know the answer, say you don’t know. If you don’t understand, ask that it be explained.
• Do not lose your temper.
• Do not speak sarcastically or tell jokes. Tones of voice are not reflected in written words of transcript.
• If your attorney objects to a question or directs you not to answer, stop speaking until further instructed.
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