The Hague Conference on Private International Law (the “HCCH”) has just published its Guide to Good Practice on the use of video-conferencing technology in the taking of evidence (the “Guide”) pursuant to the Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters (the “Convention”). Though the HCCH undertook to investigate such best practices long before the advent of COVID-19, its publication is particularly timely in light of the pandemic.
Noting that “the operation of the Convention can benefit from” the use of “video-link and similar technologies,” the Guide sets forth good practices for using such technology. While the Guide is published in the context of evidence-taking pursuant to the Convention, the practices suggested can be applied to international depositions not subject to the Convention and even to purely domestic depositions.
The Guide is divided into three main parts:
Part A discusses initiating the use of video-link, including preliminary considerations, and explains the ways in which video-link may be used under the Convention focusing primarily on the legal aspects.
Part B concerns preparing for and conducting hearings in which video-link is used, including both legal and practical considerations.
Part C elaborates on technical and security aspects.
In light of the impact of COVID-19 on the practice of law, both domestically and internationally, the Guide is a helpful resource for practitioners seeking to utilize technology in the practice of law.