Cross border evidence—requests to a foreign court for assistance

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Cross border evidence—requests to a foreign court for assistance
  • Requirement for assistance from a foreign court
  • What type of evidence can be sought
  • Making the application
  • Application for documents
  • The procedure—summary
  • The application—key questions
  • The application—additional considerations
  • Is the request oppressive?
  • Is the request too wide?
  • More...

Cross border evidence—requests to a foreign court for assistance

This Practice Note considers the approach of the courts of England and Wales in civil or commercial proceedings to an application for a letter of request to obtain deposition evidence from a witness located in a foreign country. The procedure is set out in CPR 34.13 and applies whether or not the country in which the evidence is to be sought is a contracting state of the Hague Taking of Evidence Convention. The general rules on depositions in Part 34 will also need to be considered but are not addressed in this Practice Note.

For guidance on the provisions set out in the convention, see Practice Note: Cross border evidence—Hague Evidence Convention.

For guidance where the request has been received from foreign court, see Practice Note: Cross border evidence—foreign court request for assistance.

Requirement for assistance from a foreign court

It is important to be aware that a party in proceedings in the courts of England and Wales cannot compel a witness to attend a trial if they are located outside the court’s jurisdiction.

In cases in which evidence is required from such a witness, the party requiring evidence should discuss with the potential witness whether they would be prepared to provide evidence for the purposes of the proceedings and, if so, whether they would be prepared to attend the trial

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