remote depositionThis week, the Illinois Supreme Court announced temporary changes to paragraph (h) Remote Electronic Means Depositions of Rule 206, which applies to methods of taking depositions on oral examination.  The amendments, made in response to COVID-19, were effective as of April 29, 2020.

The amended Rule no longer requires deponents to be in the presence of the officer administering the oath and recording the deposition. It also no longer requires that parties attending a deposition with the deponent provide prior written notice of their intention to appear.

Additions to Rule 206 are underlined below:

  • (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, unless the deposition participants are able to view the exhibits in real time during the deposition.
  • (5) Time spent at a remote electronic means deposition in addressing necessary technology issues shall not count against the time limit for the deposition set by Rule 206(d), by stipulation, or by court order.
  • (6) No recording of a remote electronic means deposition shall be made other than the recording disclosed in the notice of deposition.

Committee Comments were added to paragraph (h), stating:

“Where a deponent testifies from a remote location and no neutral representative or representative of an adverse party is present in the room with the testifying deponent, care must be taken to ensure the integrity of the examination. The testifying deponent may be examined regarding the identity of all persons in the room during the testimony. Where possible, all persons in the room during the testimony should separately participate in the videoconference. In furtherance of their obligations under Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct 3.3 (Candor Toward the Tribunal), 3.4 (Fairness to Opposing Party and Counsel), and 8.4(d) (Misconduct), counsel representing a deponent should instruct the deponent that (a) he or she may not communicate with anyone during the examination other than the examining attorney or the court reporter and (b) he or she may not consult any written, printed, or electronic information during the examination other than information provided by the examining attorney. Unrepresented deponents may be similarly instructed by counsel for any party.”

On March 17, 2020, the Court ordered that all essential and non-essential court matters and proceedings, if feasible and subject to constitutional limitations, be heard remotely. Last week, the Court announced that, for the first time in history, it would hold oral arguments via Zoom.