The Lowdown on Depositions in Europe: Part 1 of 3

Do you have an upcoming deposition to plan in Europe, or are you considering conducting one there in the future? This article contains an insider’s overview of the U.S. deposition scene in Europe, offering some useful tips and tricks, as well as some warnings about pitfalls to avoid. Please read on for all the details you’ll need!
Europe: the Most Popular Region for Out of Country U.S. Depositions

Based on our experience at Optima Juris, we estimate that about 70% of all foreign-held U.S. depositions take place in Europe. Due to the tremendous scale of the economic interdependence between Europe and the United States, American litigations often require testimony from European witnesses and experts. The economies of the European Union and the United States together account for half of the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows. With all that business going on, it’s little wonder that U.S. depositions crop up all the time in Europe. Every week, in fact, there are about a dozen U.S. depositions taking place in various European cities.
I have been fortunate to have had extensive experience working on U.S. depositions in Europe over the past decade. During that time I’ve lived and worked in Paris, France, and my agency, Optima Juris, has organized hundreds upon hundreds of depositions throughout the European region (as well as in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Canada, and Latin America). Looking back at my experiences in Europe, I was surprised to discover that I’ve had the good fortune to have personally visited and worked on depos in every single country in Western Europe (and many in the East) at least twice. It’s true that Europe has had its share of economic difficulties as of late. However, given the enormous amount of business conducted there, you can rest assured that Europe will remain by far the most important foreign destination for U.S. depositions for quite some time.
In this article, I will go over what you need to be aware of when organizing and conducting depositions in Europe, including many little-known tips and tricks. Should you require resources on the ground, such as certified court reporters, legal videographers, deposition interpreters, or videoconferencing, my agency Optima Juris can help – we’re the first and only U.S. deposition services agency exclusively dedicated to organizing challenging out of country depositions for our clients, and making sure that they save money in the process. Please feel free to contact my colleagues or me at any time by visiting for further details.
The Good News about Europe

Let’s start out with the good news. Europe is probably the easiest place in the world for American attorneys who need to organize a deposition. European borders are open, and restrictions on what foreigners are allowed do tend to be very light compared to other world regions. Better yet, most European countries are signatories to the Hague Evidence Convention , which means, in general, that you can depose willing witnesses without any special formalities or involvement of foreign courts. Should you need to compel an unwilling witness to testify at a deposition, there are mechanisms in place to do that as well, provided that your deposition will be taking place in a Hague Evidence Convention signatory country (Please see my blog article, “What You Should Know About The Hague Evidence Convention, Signatory Countries,” for more details). There are some notable exceptions to these rules in certain places, however –please read on to learn more.
A Skilled Pool of Local Deposition Professionals (Albeit in Limited Supply)
Another great thing about conducting depositions in Europe is that there exists a small but skilled pool of local professionals – court reporters, legal videographers, and interpreters – who are familiar with conducting U.S. depositions and can provide quality services which are fully compatible with courts in the States. Because these providers are based in Europe, you won’t need to fly a large contingent of support personnel in from the U.S. It’s even possible to find providers in Europe who work almost exclusively on U.S. depositions, which is a very rare thing in other parts of the world. Depending on where your deposition will take place, some local travel may still be necessary: while interpreters tend to be available in any large European city, English-language court reporters and legal videographers typically hail from the United Kingdom or Ireland, which are the only two English-speaking European countries with legal systems similar to our own.
Plan Ahead to Ensure Availability

The golden rule that I always try to impress upon clients planning depositions abroad, is to be sure to plan as far in advance as possible. While there are great professionals in Europe, they are in limited supply and can sometimes be booked up far into the future. The further you plan ahead, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to locate and book the right, Europe-based professional for your deposition.
Some of the Most Popular Spots for U.S. Depositions
Not surprisingly, U.S. depositions take place most often in Europe’s major global business cities. The big three destinations are London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Other popular locales for U.S. depositions include important cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Lyon, Madrid, Barcelona, Brussels, Marseille, Monaco, Birmingham, Dublin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, Rome, Milan, Lisbon, Prague, Athens, and Moscow. Although we occasionally receive requests to depose witnesses in small villages or far-flung locales, most depos by far happen in big cities. This is a good thing, because the further away from a major city you need to go, the more expensive your deposition project will end up being due to the added time and travel involved in getting everyone out to remote places (please see my section on prices in Europe, below). It’s often cheaper to just transport the witness to a major city, where all parties can then convene to conduct the deposition.
Part 2 of this 3 part article series will go into detail about the legal steps that are required to complete the international deposition process smoothly. Click here to read The Lowdown on Depositions in Europe: Part 2 of 3
Ian Hardy is the President and lead Global Deposition Expert at Optima Juris, the world’s first and only reporting agency that exclusively handles depositions abroad.