Elsa Jorgensen wrote:
My understanding is that we are not to administer the oath if the person being sworn is not present with us, for instance, if the witness is by phone. It seems some people still do this, though. Has this notary rule or law changed?
Hi, Elsa. I just sent this question out to the board. I am sure we will have an answer for you soon.
I have been out of the freelance words for a while now. However, I have not heard of that rule being changed. I have heard, though, that there are people that don't follow it. The court rule says that the person that the deposition is being taken in front of needs to swear in the witness. It's kind of hard to do that if you are not in front of them.
Anyone else out there have a more intimate knowledge of this?
I don't know what the law is, and I never swear in witnesses in court -- my judge does. He has sworn in witnesses over the phone many times. He has also commented that it could be anyone on the line, how would he know? So if my judge is doing something wrong, let me know!
When I freelanced I was asked many times to swear someone over the phone. I had all attorneys note on the record their agreement to this procedure before I would administer the oath.
I've been googling like crazy and looking through the MCRs. Not finding anything yet. When I used to freelance, there were a number of times the witness was on the phone and I distinctly remember one time there was a notary on the other end purely to administer the oath. I'll keep looking.
This is all I've come up with so far.
Rule 2.306 Depositions on Oral Examination
(C) Conduct of Deposition; Examination and Cross-Examination; Manner of
Recording; Objections; Conferring With Deponent.
(1) Examination of Deponent.
(a) The person before whom the deposition is to be taken must put the witness
It seems mildly open to interpretation but my reading is that "before whom" would indicate physical proximity. However, like pretty much anything else in court, if both sides stipulate on the record, it seems like it would be okay. If someone else can come up with a more specific court rule or guideline, that would be good.
Michigan Association of Professional Court Reporters P.O. Box 366, Pinckney, MI 48169 Phone: 734.498.2627 Fax: 734.498.8415 firstname.lastname@example.org