One of the most important components of the litigation process leading up to trial is the discovery deposition. Deposition is a fancy legal word for a process by which a person sits down in front of a court reporter and gives testimony under oath that is transcribed by that court reporter.
A deposition may end up being the only time that a person is allowed to tell their “story” in their own words while being asked questions by an attorney. This process is so important that the Illinois Supreme Court Rules allow parties to take depositions in person simply by issuing a notice to the other side — stated otherwise, they don’t have to obtain permission from the court and issue a subpoena like they would for someone like an eye witness to an accident or a treating doctor or any person with information in relation to a situation such as a breach of contract in the business context.
Interestingly enough, however, courts are beginning to look favorably on using technology to make what is traditionally a rigid process into a more convenient, accommodating system.
Under the new Illinois Supreme Court Rule 206(h), parties can make a special request to take a deposition by telephone, video conference, or other live technological method. Because it is often debatable as to why many similar laws are enacted, the rules committee went out of it’s way in this case to specifically note that:
The Committee is of the opinion that the apparent acceptance and utilization of telephonic and other remote electronic means depositions demonstrate that there is no need to require a party to obtain an order on motion to proceed with such depositions absent a written stipulation. Therefore, the Committee recommended the elimination of such a requirement so that the depositions may proceed by notice.