Frequently Asked Questions Regarding

Remote Video Depositions

Under the Illinois Supreme Court Rules
on Civil Proceedings in the Trial Court
(“Illinois Rules”)

Do the Illinois rules allow for depositions to be conducted by video conference?

Yes. Rule 206 (h) expressly allows for remote electronic depositions without stipulation, subject to certain notice requirements and a right to object. (Selections from the rules are reprinted at the end of these Frequently Asked Questions.)

Before whom may a remote video deposition taken?

Under Rule 205, a deposition within the United States may be taken before a person authorized to administer oaths under Illinois, federal, or the law of the location of the deponent.

May the presiding officer of a remote video deposition be an employee of, or otherwise, associated with counsel for a party?

Consistent with the rules of many states, the Illinois rules have a disqualification for interest provision. See, Illinois Rule 205 (d). However, unlike most such rules, the Illinois rule is limited to a person “who is a relative of or attorney for any of the parties, a relative of the attorney, or financially interested in the action.” Counsel should also consider using the broad powers of stipulation granted by Rule 201 (f) to facilitate the appointment of a deposition officer or oath administration.

May a presiding officer participate remotely in a deposition?

Rule 206(h) specifies that the deponent shall be in the presence of the officer administering the oath and recording the deposition. However, Rule 206(h) also specifies that the parties may agree otherwise, presumably with a stipulation.

Counsel may also wish to examine the possibility of using an online notary public in another state or using stipulations or other methods of waiving procedural requirements.

Do Illinois rules expressly permit video recording of depositions, in lieu of stenography?

Yes. Rule 206(a)(2) allows recording a deposition by audio and visual means. subject to certain notice requirements.

Must a “court reporter” or any other stenographer be present during a video deposition recorded by audiovisual means?

No.

Must a “court reporter” or any other stenographer be present during a video deposition recorded by audiovisual means?

There is no requirement for a transcription of a remote video deposition. A party may however elect to require a transcription. (See, Rule 206 (f)).

Are there certification requirements for a video deposition?

Under Rule 206(g)(2) (f) (1), the operator of the audio-visual equipment is required to certify that the recording is a true record of the deposition.

Selections from Illinois Supreme Court Rules
On Civil Proceedings in the Trial Court

Rule 201 General Discovery Provisions

(i) Stipulations. If the parties so stipulate, discovery may take place before any person, for any purpose, at any time or place, and in any manner.

Rule 205. Persons Before Whom Depositions May Be Taken

(a) Within the United States. Within the United States or within a territory or insular possession subject to the dominion of the United States, depositions shall be taken (1) before an officer authorized to administer oaths by the laws of this State or of the United States or of the place where the examination is held, or (2) before a person appointed by the court. The officer or person is empowered to administer oaths and take testimony. Whenever the term “officer” is used in these rules, it includes a person appointed by the court unless the context indicates otherwise.

(d) Disqualification for Interest.No deposition shall be taken before a person who is a relative of or attorney for any of the parties, a relative of the attorney, or financially interested in the action.

Rule 206. Method of Taking Depositions on Oral Examination

(a) Notice of Examination; Time and Place.

(2) Audio-Visual Recording to be Used. If a party serving notice of deposition intends to record the deponent’s testimony by use of an audio-visual recording device, the notice of deposition must so advise all parties to the deposition. If any other party intends to record the testimony of the witness by use of an audio-visual recording device, notice of that intent must likewise be served upon all other parties a reasonable time in advance. Such notices shall contain the name of the recording-device operator. After notice is given that a deposition will be recorded by an audio-visual recording device, any party may make a motion for relief in the form of a protective order under Rule 201. If a hearing is not held prior to the taking of the deposition, the recording shall be made subject to the court’s ruling at a later time.

(f)Record of Examination; Oath; Objections. The officer before whom the deposition is to be taken shall put the witness on oath and shall personally, or by someone acting under the officer’s direction and in the officer’s presence, record the testimony of the witness. The testimony shall be taken stenographically, by sound-recording device, by audio-visual recording device, or by any combination of all three. The testimony shall be transcribed at the request of any party. Objections made at the time of the examination to the qualifications of the officer taking the deposition, to the manner of taking it, to the evidence presented, or to the conduct of any person, and any other objection to the proceedings, shall be included in the deposition. Evidence objected to shall be taken subject to the objection. In lieu of participating in the oral examination, parties served with notice of taking a deposition may transmit written questions to the officer, who shall propound them to the witness and record the answers verbatim.

(g) Video Depositions.Except as otherwise provided in this rule, the rules governing the practice, procedures and use of depositions shall apply to depositions recorded by audio-visual equipment.

(1) Depositions which are to be recorded by audio-visual equipment shall begin by the operator of the equipment stating, on camera, (1) the operator’s name and address, (2) the date, time and place of the deposition, (3) the caption of the case, (4) the name of the witness, (5) the party on whose behalf the deposition is being taken, and (6) the party at whose instance the deposition is being recorded on an audio-visual recording device. The officer before whom the deposition is being taken shall state the officer’s name and swear the witness on camera. At the conclusion of the deposition the operator shall state on camera that the deposition is concluded. If the deposition requires the use of more than one videotape or other storage medium, the end of each recorded segment and the beginning of each succeeding segment shall be announced on camera by the operator.

(2) The operator shall initially take custody of the audio-visual recording of the deposition and shall run through the recording to determine the exact length of time of the deposition. The operator shall sign an affidavit stating the length of time of the deposition and shall certify that the recording is a true record of the deposition and shall certify that the operator has not edited or otherwise altered the recording. A deposition so certified requires no further proof of authenticity. If requested by any party at the conclusion of the taking of the deposition, the operator shall make a copy of the videotape and deliver it to the party requesting it at the cost of that party.

(3) A recording of a deposition shall be returned to the attorney for the party at whose instance the deposition was recorded. Said attorney is responsible for the safeguarding of the recording and shall permit the viewing of and shall provide a copy of the recording upon the request and at the cost of any party. A recording of a discovery deposition shall not be filed with the court except by leave of court for good cause shown.

(4) A recording of a deposition for use in evidence shall not be filed with the court as a matter of course. At the time that a recording of a deposition is offered into evidence, it shall be filed with the court in the form and manner specified by local rule.

(5) The party at whose instance the deposition is recorded audio-visually shall pay the charges of the recording operator for attending and shall pay any charges associated with filing the audio-visual recording.

(6) The recording of a deposition may be presented at trial in lieu of reading from the stenographic transcription of the deposition.

(h)Remote Electronic Means Depositions. . Any party may take a deposition by telephone, videoconference, or other remote electronic means by stating in the notice the specific electronic means to be used for the deposition, subject to the right to object. For the purposes of Rule 203, Rule 205, and this rule, such a deposition is deemed taken at the place where the deponent is to answer questions. Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (h), the rules governing the practice, procedures and use of depositions shall apply to remote electronic means depositions.

(1) The deponent shall be in the presence of the officer administering the oath and recording the deposition, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

(2) Any exhibits or other demonstrative evidence to be presented to the deponent by any party at the deposition shall be provided to the officer administering the oath and all other parties within a reasonable period of time prior to the deposition.

(3) Nothing in this paragraph (h) shall prohibit any party from being with the deponent during the deposition, at that party’s expense; provided, however, that a party attending a deposition shall give written notice of that party’s intention to appear at the deposition to all other parties within a reasonable time prior to the deposition.

(4) The party at whose instance the remote electronic means deposition is taken shall pay all costs of the remote electronic means deposition, unless otherwise agreed by the parties.

Rule 211. Effect of Errors and Irregularities in Depositions; Objections

(a) As to Notice. All errors and irregularities in the notice for taking a deposition are waived unless written objection is promptly served upon the party giving the notice.

(b) As to Disqualification of Officer or Person. Objection to taking a deposition because of disqualification of the officer or person before whom it is to be taken is waived unless made before the taking of the deposition begins or as soon thereafter as the disqualification becomes known or could have been discovered with reasonable diligence.

(d) As to Completion and Return of Deposition. . Errors and irregularities in the manner in which the testimony is transcribed or the deposition is prepared, signed, certified, sealed, indorsed, transmitted, filed, or otherwise dealt with by the officer are waived unless a motion to suppress the deposition or some part thereof is made with reasonable promptness after the defect is, or with due diligence might have been, ascertained.