Legal Updates and Changes in Deposition Rules

Staying up-to-date is the need of every profession today but when being into a legal profession, it becomes mandatory to be informed of any changes. In this blog, we will enlist the recent changes and updates made to the deposition rules. Before the changes, let us understand

What is a Deposition?

This is a statement or testimony made in front of the court, which involves taking of oath or further being reduced to written scripts. These are used to gather information for the discovery process during a case. Usually, these are taken outside the courtroom and recorded by someone known as a court reporter.
Deposition often involves several questions to obtain any information related to the facts or events of the case. These are done before the actual trial and may involve the parties of the case (plaintiff and defendant), their respective attorneys or witnesses if any.

Now that we are aware of what depositions are, let’s enlist some of the recent alterations that are done in the way depositions are recorded.

New Rule 2.01 (Behavior and Ceremony in General)

As with the COVID pandemic, numerous things have seen the face of remote activities and so was with court proceedings that switched to online modes. This will be effective from Jan 1, 2024, which mandates lawyers and parties in courts to abide by new courtroom decorum rules. This includes –

  • How and what will be their appearance and behavior during remote proceedings.
  • Appropriate courtroom clothing is required. Hats and head coverings are not permitted, except for religious or medical reasons.
  • The consumption of food or beverages, except water (by permission of the trial judge), is off-limits.
  • Now outlawed: gum-chewing, smoking, vaping, audible noises, reading the newspaper or smartphone scrolling, and any other “distracting activity” while remote court is in session.
  • The new rule also prescribes how lawyers and parties shall position themselves and behave while on camera. “While using remote technology, attorneys, parties, participants, and observers shall remain in a stationary location in front of the device camera, mute their microphone when not speaking, and not engage in distracting activities,”

Electronic Delivery of Deposition Transcripts

If adopted, the revised Trial Rule 30(F) would remove the current need for deposition transcripts to be provided in a confidential hard copy format. This court rule revision would give liberty to the court reporters to deliver deposition transcripts electronically if the parties agree.

New language in Trial Rule 30(F) Would Provide

If each party participating in the deposition agrees to the original deposition being certified electronically, the officer shall send the electronically certified original transcript endorsed with the title of the action and marked “Original Deposition of (here insert name of witness)” and shall promptly electronically deliver it to the party taking the deposition.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6)

This rule deals with organizational witnesses. This amendment would require the party to designate people with knowledge to testify on their behalf. They also must be prepared beforehand on the topics and discussions already made in the deposition notice. This would ensure to save time and faith on the court’s matter.

California Code of Civil Procedure Section 2025.220

The amendment to this section would entail the speeding up of the court proceedings. This mandates the total testimony of the deposition to be under 7 hours. This intends to avoid any delays in the discovery process and to focus only on the relevant information of the case.

When being a part of the legislature, It becomes crucial for attorneys to stay informed. Being aware of all the updates can help lawyers effectively represent their clients and avoid potential issues in court. This can also help attorneys to better plan and conduct depositions, ultimately improving the litigation process for all parties involved.

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