A deposition is a witness's sworn out-of-court testimony, allowed in some domestic legal systems (notably the United States), but also in the procedural rules of some of the international criminal courts and tribunals (e.g. International Residual Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT)).
The aim of a deposition is to explore what the witness knows and to preserve the witness’s testimony for trial. Specific rules, different to those at trial, will generally apply, especially when it comes to what objections are allowed, extent of disclosure, etc. While each advocate will have their own deposition style, following simple tips and techniques can improve performance, irrespective of the style.
Other procedures resembling depositions are also found in the rules of international(ised) courts and tribunals. It is imperative that the advocate is acquainted with the specific rules, which will differ between jurisdictions. One of the most important overall skills at depositions or similar procedures, however, is handling the surprises that will inevitably arise.
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