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Legal guidance and direction on remote oaths/remote depositions

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and many restrictions on gatherings and recommendations to shelter in place, activities statewide have come to a screeching halt, including depositions, legal proceedings, and classroom lectures and meetings – nearly all matters which utilize our stenographic reporters’ and captioners’ services.

A great benefit to our stenographic skills is the ability to use them nearly anywhere, including from the comfort of our home or office.  The OCRA Board of Directors has been working hard for you to confirm that remotely swearing in a deponent while reporting depositions via video or telephone conference is permitted in the state of Ohio.

With respect to stenographers who are notaries in the state of Ohio, it is OCRA’s understanding, after consultation with legal counsel, that an oath administered prior to a deposition is different from those oaths needed to be given in person for the purposes of notarial acts. Accordingly, there is no requirement that it needs to be performed in person. 

After careful review of the Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure and case law, legal counsel concluded there are no in-person requirements for oaths to be administered at depositions.  Although Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure 30(c) addresses the need to place a deponent under oath before a deposition, it does not state that the oath has to be administered in person. Indeed, the Ohio rules contemplate the usage of remote depositions, see Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6).

As a safeguard, it is recommended that the parties place a stipulation on the record agreeing to the remote deposition and that a remote oath will be administered by a stenographic reporter who is also a notary in the state of Ohio.

Stay safe and healthy during this unprecedented time in our history.

Angie Starbuck, OCRA Secretary


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