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Administering Deposition Oaths Remotely

When conducting remote depositions, one issue to consider is whether or not the laws of the jurisdiction the case was filed in permit the reporter to take an oath remotely, and if the reporter can administer that oath to someone who is out-of-state. This is an issue which is easy to overlook, since usually the reporter assigned to a deposition will reside in the same state in which the deposition takes place.

The Supreme Court of the State of Florida has issued an administrative order under which, "[n]otaries and other persons qualified to administer an oath in the State of Florida may swear a witness remotely by audio-video." In Re: Comprehensive Covid-19 Emergency Measures For The Florida State Courts ,Fla. Admin. Order No. AOSC20-23 (April 6, 2020), at 3. If the oath is administered to a witness located outside of Florida, the witness must consent . Id. at 4.

The Governor of California issued an executive order suspending Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2025.310 which had prevented reporters from deposing a party witness remotely. Cal. Exec. Order No. N-38-20 (Mar. 27, 2020). The civil procedure code was amended and now states that, "[a]t the election of the deponent or the deposing party, the deposition officer may attend the deposition at a different location than the deponent via remote means. A deponent is not required to be physically present with the deposition officer when being sworn in at the time of the deposition." Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 2025.310(a) (amended 2020).

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