Frequently Asked Questions About Depositions

in Witness
Most people never have their deposition taken. The question and answer session under oath is usually reserved for those directly involved in a lawsuit. The lawyers in the case ask questions, and the witness answers them under oath and to the best of their ability. When someone must have their deposition taken, they often have many questions beforehand about the logistics of what will happen. Some frequently asked questions are below.

Where does it take place?
Most witnesses are subpoenaed to appear for deposition. The date, time and address are printed on the subpoena. When someone has been served a subpoena, they are required to appear unless other arrangements are made and the subpoena is nullified or changed. The location is usually at either an attorney's office or a neutral third-party site, such as a court reporting service's deposition suite or conference room. Out-of-state lawyers will sometimes arrange for legal depositions to take place at a hotel conference room or the office where the witness works.

How long does it take?
Giving a deposition can take as little as 15 minutes or stretch into several hours. Some depositions are even continued into many days of testimony, depending on the nature of the case and the knowledge of the witness. Usually the main characters of the case, most likely the plaintiff and the defendant, take the longest because they have a lot of information that the lawyers want to know. Experts, like doctors in medical malpractice or auto accident cases, commonly take a few hours.

Who will be there?
The people present at the deposition are usually the witness, the plaintiff, the defendant and attorneys for both sides. Deposition reporters are frequently hired to attend the proceedings and take down everything that is said. These registered professional court reporters are neutral third parties that do this for a living.

Is it legally binding?
The deponent is placed under oath by the court reporter at the beginning of the proceedings. Some states require the person to produce a valid form of photo identification to verify their identity before taking the oath. When someone is sworn, they must swear or affirm that what they say is the whole truth, the real truth and nothing but the truth. This is as legally binding as any testimony given in a court of law. Those found to be lying can be charged with perjury. Those that do not show up can face criminal charges as well.

What should a witness wear?
When someone is giving deposition testimony in a legal case, most witnesses dress in business attire or business casual. They should wear clothing that they can be comfortable sitting in for quite some time. Most deposition locations are conference rooms where the door is shut for privacy. Air conditioning or heat may or may not be working in the room, so it is wise to dress in layers.
Author Box
Christine Harrell has 13897 articles online and 13 fans

Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information about deposition reporters, please visit

Add New Comment

Frequently Asked Questions About Depositions

Log in or Create Account to post a comment.
Security Code: Captcha Image Change Image
This article was published on 2010/10/12