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What Happens at a Deposition?

A deposition is process wherein a witness gives his testimony outside the premises of the court such as in the office of an attorney. This is usually done before the proper court trial without the presence of a judge. Required to be present are the lawyers of the opposing parties and their witnesses.

The goal here is to get a written testimony that will be used at a later time for discovery purposes. In cases where the witness or one of the parties may not be present during the trial, the deposition can be used as evidence instead of a court testimony.

During this process, the witness is first called by the court reporter who administers the oath taking and records everything that is said. The witness is asked to raise his right hand and swear to tell the truth.

The next step is the questioning of the witness by the lawyer. Before this, though, the attorney will provide a brief instruction on the ground rules of the deposition. Although the process is still not the real trial, witnesses have to practice caution when providing information as laws on lying and perjury already apply.

The legal counsels of both parties need to be present to guide their clients and their witnesses. They have to properly instruct their witnesses on how to answer questions and can object to irrelevant and misleading questions. Another task for them is to cross examine the witness as a way to clarify their answers. They can also ask for breaks when necessary.

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