Yes, both procedures are possible. Most of the requests addressed to Luxembourg come from a court in another Member State that wishes to examine a witness by videoconference.
There are no specific provisions on videoconferencing. Therefore, the rules governing the examination of witnesses, personal verification by the judge and appearance in person of the parties are the ordinary rules of the New Code of Civil Procedure. At present there is no case law on videoconferencing.
Videoconferences can be used to hear witnesses, and in some cases the parties and the court experts. However, to date, the only requests received have been to hear witnesses.
The only restriction is that the hearing of witnesses is carried out on a voluntary basis. If a witness refuses to attend a hearing, the Luxembourg authorities have no means of obliging him or her to do so.
The evidence must be evidence that can be taken on court premises possessing the necessary technical equipment.
If the requesting State wishes to record the videoconference, it must obtain the express consent of the witness heard in Luxembourg. Luxembourg, as the requested State, does not record the videoconference because recording is prohibited by Luxembourg law.
a) French, German.
b) All languages.
The Luxembourg court, as the court of the requested state, arranges for an interpreter whenever necessary, either to communicate with the authorities of the requesting state or with the person to be examined.
The Luxembourg authorities, and more specifically the court responsible for taking evidence, will contact the authorities of the requesting state to agree on the date and time of the videoconference. The summons is served at least 15 days before a hearing. The Luxembourg authorities are responsible for summoning the participants.
In accordance with the EU Regulation, the requested state authorises the videoconference and the requesting state deals with all the formalities and organisational and technical matters, which includes informing the persons concerned.
The use of videoconferencing and the witness’s expenses are paid for by the Luxembourg State. In principle, interpreting costs are borne by the requesting state.
The person will be informed in the summons and by the judge or the registrar before the videoconference.
The Luxembourg court, as the court of the requested state, checks the identity documents at the beginning of the hearing.
Witnesses and experts must take an oath to tell the truth. They are informed that they risk a fine or imprisonment if they commit perjury.
The oath is taken before the requesting court.
In the case of Article 17 the requesting state applies its own conditions. The Luxembourg judge present during the videoconference, as the judge of the requested state, intervenes only if there is a problem.
On the day and at the time set for a videoconference, a judge, a registrar, a technician and, if necessary, an interpreter are present.
In order to arrange a videoconference a number of technical issues have to be clarified. The success of a hearing by videoconferencing therefore depends on sound prior preparation and effective collaboration between contact points.
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