The UIDDA: Streamlining the Process for Out-of-State Depositions and Discovery

The UIDDA: Streamlining the Process for Out-of-State Depositions and Discovery

As many legal professionals can attest, gaining depositions from out-of-state individuals or access to out-of-state discovery was a time-consuming and potentially costly endeavor before the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (UIDDA) was enacted in 2007.

Prior to the UIDDA, the process in most states was not unlike that summarized by attorney Deborah Bucknam in her Vermont law firm’s blog: “In order to obtain discovery, a litigant was required to obtain an order from a court in their home jurisdiction, file the order with the foreign jurisdiction and request the order be enforced. The litigant would be forced to hire an attorney licensed to practice in the foreign jurisdiction to enter their appearance to enforce the Vermont order. For clients with limited funds, this was not a practical way to obtain discovery.”[1]

The UIDDA’s Simplified Process

The UIDDA addresses the need for an efficient and inexpensive procedure that would allow litigants to depose individuals and conduct discovery in a state other than the trial state.[2] The process for issuing an enforceable subpoena in a UIDDA state is fairly straightforward. The attorney need only issue a subpoena and deliver it to the foreign court’s clerk along with an application and fee, whereupon the foreign court will issue its own enforceable subpoena[3].  According to the Uniform Law Commission, the UIDDA introduces several benefits, as follows[4]:

  • More efficient. The clerk of court in the discovery state acts in a purely ministerial role, but in a manner that is sufficient to invoke jurisdiction of the discovery state over the deponent.
  • Inexpensive. The Act eliminates the need for out of state litigants to obtain a commission or local counsel in the discovery state and file miscellaneous actions during discovery in order to subpoena individuals located outside the trial state.
  • Minimized Judicial Oversight. Under the Act, there is no need to present the matter to a judge in the discovery state before a subpoena can be issued.
  • Clear rules governing discovery. Discovery permitted by the Act must comply with the laws of the discovery state. The Act recognizes that the discovery state has a significant interest in protecting its residents who become non-party witnesses in an action pending in a foreign jurisdiction from unreasonable or burdensome discovery requests. Moreover, all motions to quash or modify a subpoena must comply with the law of the discovery state.

Steady Adoption by States

Since 2007, the UIDDA has been adopted by a large portion the U.S., as evidenced by the map[5] below.


However, legal professionals need to be apprised of the process in every state, as states may choose to adopt the UIDDA in totality or adopt a modified version, or as in the case of those who not adopted it, have their own procedures in place.

Expect the Need for Out-of-State Depositions and Discovery to Grow

Today’s society is more mobile than ever, and, thanks to the Internet, increasingly likely to own out-of-state financial accounts and assets. These factors make it likely that out-of-state depositions and discovery requirements will increase, a compelling reason to streamline both the acquisition process and the challenges may arise afterward.

For example, as Bucknam stated, “This new Act provides an easier and less expensive way to obtain discovery. Its limitation is that if the discovery is contested in any way, then out of state counsel must be hired. One would hope that, once this Act is more generally implemented, the lessons derived from the implementation of the Act would point toward ways of making it easier to obtain contested discovery out of state.”[6]

[1] Deborah Bucknam, “A New and Nifty Way to Obtain Discovery Out of State–With a Caveat,”Bucknam & Black, September 12, 2012.

[2] Uniform Law Commission, “Why States Should Adopt UIDDA,”

[3] Joshua J. Pollack and Joseph K. Wright, “Preparing for the UIDDA’s New Rules for Foreign Depositions,” Los Angeles Lawyer, December 2008. Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act (2007), supra note 17.

[4] Uniform Law Commission, “Why States Should Adopt UIDDA,”


[6] Deborah Bucknam

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