There are four principal uses for testimony given at a deposition:

Evidence at the Trial. — A deposition may be used as evidence by an opposing party at the trial.  Under certain conditions, a lawyer may read a part of the deposition to the jury, and the jury may consider the deposition in the same manner as if the witness gave live testimony.

Discovery. — A deposition may be used to try to discover leads for evidence or to develop or discover facts that will help the case.

Impeachment of a Witness. — Deposition testimony may be used to impeach a witness if the testimony at the trial varies from the deposition testimony.  A lawyer is permitted to bring this variation to the jury’s attention to reduce the witness’ credibility.

Review of Witness. — A deposition gives the participating lawyers an opportunity to evaluate a witness for candor, honesty, and responsiveness, and to form opinions as to how the witness might appear to a jury.


A witness has the right to read and to sign the deposition after it is completed to ensure that the court reporter transcribed the testimony accurately or that the facts are correct.  Your lawyer will advise you whether you should read the deposition and whether changes should be made.

Next week we look further at how to conduct yourself during a deposition and what to expect from procedures.

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