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Law 101: Legal Guide for the Forensic Expert

Definition of a Deposition

Definition of a Deposition
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

A deposition is the recorded sworn oral testimony of a party or witness before trial. Depositions are used to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing party's case.

It is extremely important for the expert to prepare thoroughly before providing answers on deposition and in trial. The expert is testifying under oath. The expert's testimony may be used to impeach him if inconsistencies develop. If the expert admits crucial facts during his deposition, the expert will be hard-pressed to deny those facts later on in court.

The expert witness, or deponent, is sworn to tell the truth, as he is when testifying in court or in an administrative hearing. The expert's deposition may be taken and recorded, usually by a court reporter.

A transcript of the deposition will be prepared, and all witnesses deposed will have a limited time in which to review the transcript and make necessary corrections.

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