Legal depositions are a critical part of the legal process. They allow attorneys to gather crucial information in video format that is every bit as important as in-person witness testimony. In fact, legally, there is no difference in their merit once a case makes it to the courtroom.
However, getting a remote deposition is different from an in-person one. When you do a deposition in-person, you have the person right there in front of you, asking them questions that they answer relevant to the case at hand.
With a remote deposition, the person is not there in person for whatever reason, so you have to record it from afar using computer technology. There is plenty of new tech and various recording and chat platforms to make this possible, but it’s important first to know the main differences between the two types of testimony.
5 Important in person and remote deposition differences
- With an in-person deposition, you can arrange a time you agree upon so both parties can be there in person at a designated location to film the interview. With remote depositions, you have to do a lot more preparation. You have to inform everyone involved that you wish to record an online deposition. Then it’s necessary to share all relevant documents (making sure confidentiality is still protected). This information should be shared with all parties, including the opposing side and the court reporter.
- With a remote deposition, you need to check all of your technology equipment to make sure it is working correctly. Both a webcam and microphone are required.
- Using a clean and professional background reflects the importance of the case. Don’t use anything that would be distracting to anyone. Remember, jury members may view it also, and you need to refrain from any content that would distract them from the main points.
- In an in-person deposition, it is easier to edit the video later if the person made a mistake or you left something out. With an online deposition, you will want to avoid interruptions as much as possible as this can hamper the smooth feel of the interview. You want to capture all of the file at one time when possible.
- One of the advantages of in person vs remote depositions is that in a remote deposition, you are usually in the comfort of one’s home, so they are less likely to be nervous. It may be smoother in general, but in either case, there may be some editing that needs to be done.
However, one note about editing. When you take a deposition from someone, you are taking an entire legal statement. You will want to cut down on editing as much as possible, as this could be viewed as an attempt to change what someone said or to water down an answer that was shocking, for example.
Let the video record all of the material in one shot without stopping in both cases, and only edit when it is absolutely imperative for clarity of what the person said or another emergency. People who will watch it know that if you can edit, you can cut something out. They need the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, remember?
Conclusion: In person vs remote depositions
Both in person and remote depositions count in the courtroom. They are both seen as testimony and carry as much weight as a person actually being in the courtroom since they are also sworn in.
However, remember that you need to capture the remote interview with as little alteration as possible so that people will know you have not changed anything that the person said. What they said and how they acted when telling what they know is the most important part, whether you are doing it remotely or in person.
Weigh all the benefits and decide which is more likely to win the ear of the juror listening. Don’t base on which is easiest. Do what’s right for your client.
Categorised in: Deposition Services
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