TITLE 28 - JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE
PART V - PROCEDURE
CHAPTER 117 - EVIDENCE; DEPOSITIONS
Sec. 1782. Assistance to foreign and international tribunals and to
litigants before such tribunals
(a) The district court of the district in which a person resides
or is found may order him to give his testimony or statement or to
produce a document or other thing for use in a proceeding in a
foreign or international tribunal, including criminal
investigations conducted before formal accusation. The order may be
made pursuant to a letter rogatory issued, or request made, by a
foreign or international tribunal or upon the application of any
interested person and may direct that the testimony or statement be
given, or the document or other thing be produced, before a person
appointed by the court. By virtue of his appointment, the person
appointed has power to administer any necessary oath and take the
testimony or statement. The order may prescribe the practice and
procedure, which may be in whole or part the practice and procedure
of the foreign country or the international tribunal, for taking
the testimony or statement or producing the document or other
thing. To the extent that the order does not prescribe otherwise,
the testimony or statement shall be taken, and the document or
other thing produced, in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil
A person may not be compelled to give his testimony or statement
or to produce a document or other thing in violation of any legally
(b) This chapter does not preclude a person within the United
States from voluntarily giving his testimony or statement, or
producing a document or other thing, for use in a proceeding in a
foreign or international tribunal before any person and in any
manner acceptable to him.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 949; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, Sec.
93, 63 Stat. 103; Pub. L. 88-619, Sec. 9(a), Oct. 3, 1964, 78 Stat.
997; Pub. L. 104-106, div. A, title XIII, Sec. 1342(b), Feb. 10,
1996, 110 Stat. 486.)
HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES
Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Secs. 649-653, 701, 703, 704
(R.S. Secs. 871-875, 4071, 4073, 4074; Feb. 27, 1877, ch. 69, Sec.
1, 19 Stat. 241; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, Sec. 291, 36 Stat. 1167;
June 25, 1936, ch. 804, 49 Stat. 1921).
Sections 649-652 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., applied only to
the District of Columbia and contained detailed provisions for
issuing subpoenas, payment of witness fees and procedure for
ordering and taking depositions. These matters are all covered by
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 26-32.
Provisions in sections 649-652 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed.,
relating to the taking of testimony in the District of Columbia for
use in State and Territorial courts were omitted as covered by
section 14-204 of the District of Columbia Code, 1940 ed., and
Rules 26 et seq., and 46 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Only the last sentence of section 653 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940
ed., is included in this revised section. The remaining provisions
relating to depositions of witnesses in foreign countries form the
basis of section 1781 of this title.
Sections 701, 703, and 704 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., were
limited to "suits for the recovery of money or property depending
in any court in any foreign country with which the United States
are at peace, and in which the government of such foreign country
shall be a party or shall have an interest."
The revised section omits this limitation in view of the general
application of the last sentence of section 653 of title 28,
U.S.C., 1940 ed., consolidated herein. The improvement of
communications and the expected growth of foreign commerce will
inevitably increase litigation involving witnesses separated by
Therefore the revised section is made simple and clear to provide
a flexible procedure for the taking of depositions. The ample
safeguards of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 26-32,
will prevent misuse of this section.
The provisions of section 703 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., for
punishment of disobedience to subpoena or refusal to answer is
covered by Rule 37(b)(1) of Federal Rules or Civil Procedure.
The provisions of section 704 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with
respect to fees and mileage of witnesses are covered by Rule 45(c)
of Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Changes were made in phraseology.
This amendment corrects restrictive language in section 1782 of
title 28, U.S.C., in conformity with original law and permits
depositions in any judicial proceeding without regard to whether
the deponent is "residing" in the district or only sojourning
REFERENCES IN TEXT
The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, referred to in subsec. (a),
are set out in the Appendix to this title.
1996 - Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104-106 inserted ", including
criminal investigations conducted before formal accusation" after
"proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal" in first
1964 - Pub. L. 88-619 substituted provisions which empowered
district courts to order residents to give testimony or to produce
documents for use in a foreign or international tribunal, pursuant
to a letter rogatory, or request, of a foreign or international
tribunal or upon application of any interested person, and to
direct that the evidence be presented before a person appointed by
the court, provided that such person may administer oaths and take
testimony, that the evidence be taken in accordance with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure unless the order prescribes using
the procedure of the foreign or international tribunal, that a
person may not be compelled to give legally privileged evidence,
and that this chapter doesn't preclude a person from voluntarily
giving evidence for use in a foreign or international tribunal, for
provisions permitting depositions of witnesses within the United
States for use in any court in a foreign country with which the
United States was at peace to be taken before a person authorized
to administer oaths designated by the district court of the
district where the witness resides or is found, and directing that
the procedure used be that generally used in courts of the United
States, in text, and "Assistance to foreign and international
tribunals and to litigants before such tribunals" for "Testimony
for use in foreign countries" in section catchline.
1949 - Act May 24, 1949, struck out "residing" after "witness",
and substituted "judicial proceeding" for "civil action" after "to
be used in any".
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