Conducting Depositions in France – Part Two

Conducting Depositions in France – Part Two

La Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Paris, image by Brittany DaviesIn a previous blog, we outlined the process of taking depositions of French citizens and third-country nationals before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States.  Depositions of French citizens and third-country nationals may also be taken by a person commissioned by a U.S. court.  Authorization from the Bureau de l’Entraide Judiciaire International of the Ministry of Justice is required in order to take such depositions.  The Embassy does not assist in obtaining authorization in cases where the commissioned person is not a consular officer of the United States.  Instead, the request should be sent directly to:

Ministère de la Justice
Direction des Affaires civiles et du Sceau
Bureau de l’Entraide judiciaire en Matière civile et commercial
13, place Vendôme
75042 Paris Cedex 01

All documents must be sent in French or include a French translation.  The request must include the following:

  1. The commission to take the deposition, referring to the Hague Convention with specific information on:

    • The name of the court
    • The name of the judge/issuing authority
    • The names and addresses of all parties to the proceedings and their representatives
    • The names and addresses of the deponents
    • Either a list of questions to be put to the witnesses or a statement of the subject matter on which they are to be questioned
    • Whether the parties to the case have consented to the deposition; if not, reasons for any objection
    • The names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the court reporter, videographer, and interpreter who are to attend, if any
  2. The authority requesting authorization, as well as the authority requested to grant it, or the appropriate judicial authority in France
  3. The nature of the proceedings and all necessary information pertaining to it
  4. The evidence to be obtained
  5. Documents or other property to be inspected
  6. Whether the evidence is to be given under oath, including any specific form of oath which must be used
  7. Whether any special procedure is to be followed in taking the evidence
  8. An explanation as to why this method of taking evidence has been chosen, taking into account the judicial costs involved
  9. The criteria for designating the individual commissioned to take evidence

All of the above information must be received by the Ministry of Justice at least 45 days prior to the preferred deposition date.  In addition, it must be explained why the deposition is not being held on Embassy/Consulate grounds.  The deposition must be open to the public.  The date and time of the deposition must be provided to the Ministry of Justice prior to the deposition date.  The witness must be summoned by written notice, in French, at least 15 days prior to the deposition, and this notice must include assurances that appearances are voluntary, that a lawyer may represent the witness, and that the parties to the case have consented to the deposition.

A court reporting firm with experience in European depositions can help with any questions regarding the above process for scheduling depositions in France.  They can also assist with all the logistical details leading up to your depositions, once you have received approval from the Ministry of Justice.  They will cover any last-minute requests seamlessly to keep your depositions on track, including rush print jobs of exhibits, minor schedule changes to be made with the hotel, etc.

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