Who doesn’t dream of one day going to Europe? Big Ben, the Louvre, the Colosseum, the Alps, the beaches, the FOOD, all call visitors from every region of the globe to this magnificent continent (and the U.K.!) and have for centuries. Attorneys taking depositions in Europe will discover a few additional steps when scheduling. Within one continent, each country on the map will have its own rules, restrictions, and the like, making each one a new adventure! For example, Austria does not permit depositions at all. Other countries allow depositions but may require permission from their respective Hague Evidence Convention Central Authority.
The advantages of having depositions in Europe are numerous! And a global court reporting agency will help you sort through the can dos and the just don’ts, leaving you more time to stride through Piccadilly or dig deep into your pasta!
Managing Language Gaps
Luckily for you, though many, many languages are spoken in Europe, English is well-spoken most places, making travel much easier. Mastering a few phrases in the local lingo will serve you well, but it is often easy to find someone to parler your own language.
Several international airports are crammed into Europe, and trains are a fun way to travel between countries once you’ve landed. Getting to Europe really couldn’t be easier, though leaving may be hard to do once you’re immersed in the culture and history there (and eating their cooking)! Visa and passport requirements are low-key, so last-minute trips are possible, so long as you have a valid passport.
Deposition Scheduling Ease
Speaking in general terms, scheduling depositions is a simple, straightforward process. True, some countries impose some requirements or restrictions, and some do not allow depositions, but with so many countries in such close proximity, finding a depo-friendly neighbor who will host your deposition isn’t much of a challenge.
Speaking of restrictions, Germany requires all depositions be conducted before a U.S. consular officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt. The German Ministry of Justice must also approve the deposition. The initial request for approval should be submitted at least eight weeks before the desired deposition date. Deposition hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:30 pm, and the Consulate is closed on both German and American holidays.
Prior Permission Needed
Usually, prior permission from the Central Authority for The Hague Evidence Convention, or Ministry of Justice, is not required for American attorneys to depose an American citizen residing in a European country. Some (Netherlands for example) require no such permission, regardless of the witness’ nationality. Sweden requires prior permission to take any deposition whatsoever, be your witness a Swede, a Canadian, or a Bolivian residing in Stockholm. Typically, if prior permission is required, it should be requested at least six weeks before the proposed deposition. It is possible a court order may need to be included in the formal request.
Quality Resources may be Limited
The U.K. makes depositions as easy as taking them in your own state. BUT, be aware, the court reporter MUST be a U.K stenographer. These prized professionals are in high demand, and are therefore booked ages in advance, so extensive planning is essential, and dates need to be solidified as early as possible.
Contact the U.S. Embassy
Some countries not only require permission from the Central Authority for The Hague Evidence Convention but are picky about from whom this request comes. You may need to get your Embassy to submit the request on your behalf before you can schedule the deposition. It is advisable to submit the request via the Embassy at least four weeks before the desired deposition date.
Points to Consider
Even in places as wonderful as Europe, there are a few thorns. Keep in mind that interpreters throughout Europe keep a very tight schedule, as they are in high demand. They are also pricey, as they are in high demand. Booking an interpreter as far in advance as you can is best. Double check cancellation policies, as they can be strict. Not only are interpreters pricey, conference rooms in Europe tend to be on the more expensive side. Everyone wants to go to Europe, so she’s not cheap, basically. Brace yourself and your client for higher costs.