Obtaining Evidence for use in Foreign Proceedings

Cross-border disputes may require obtaining evidence in the United States for use in proceedings pending in another jurisdiction. Traditionally, courts utilized letters rogatory to request assistance of foreign courts in obtaining foreign evidence. But the letters rogatory process can be long and unreliable. It requires transmission of the request through diplomatic channels and multiple agencies and authorities in both the originating and the destination country. A second, and somewhat more expeditious, avenue for obtaining evidence from the United States is through the Hague Evidence Convention, which provides for the transmission of the request through the competent authority in the destination country. But the most convenient and direct method of obtaining evidence from the United States is through a U.S. federal statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which provides that “[t]he 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 . . .” Evidence may be obtained from both parties and non-parties to the foreign proceeding. Section 1782 request has been successfully used to obtain an order of discovery in a variety of foreign proceedings, including, civil and commercial cases, international arbitrations, anti-monopoly investigations, criminal proceedings, and others. This page provides information on various aspects of section 1782 discovery.