Here are a few suggested agreements/ Stipulations to request of opposing counsel (or from the court) for online court appearances, including court hearings and depositions. And things to think about before starting online witness examinations.
The parties stipulate and agree as follows:
- All witnesses appearing remotely will be viewable at a camera angle that allows a reasonable view of the witness’ location, including observation of more than just the witness’ face.
- All witnesses will certify that they have a sufficient internet connection during the proceedings, and are either hardwired to the internet, or will not move far from the source of their wifi connection, to keep technical issues and freezing to a minimum.
- Witnesses will not appear for testimony while in a moving vehicle or in a public place with background noise.
- Each witness at the time of testimony will answer initial questions verifying that they are in privacy and alone while testifying or that they will identify on the record anyone present in the room or immediate location while they are testifying.
- No witness will be able to review, on or off screen, any documents or other materials other than trial exhibits which are mentioned on the record during the testimony. Each remote witness will be provided with all exhibits to be discussed during that witness’ testimony, and it is the obligation of the examining party (either direct or cross-examination) to provide the testifying witness with those exhibits.
- Witnesses will be asked to certify, under oath, that the witness has not received any communications from third parties during the witness’ examination, from an attorney or any other interested party by way of text message, direct message, email, or other electronic means.
- Counsel will disclose in advance of the hearing whether their own client and witnesses will be remote from the attorney or whether the attorney will be in the same room with the party or witness during the examination and cross-examination.
Here’s sample remote deposition provisions set up by a U.S. Magistrate — no need to reinvent the wheel for your own deposition.