Legal Translation of Foreign Evidence, Rule 26(c) Protective Orders: The Second Circuit View

Certified translation affidavits, official documents translations and multilingual legal language services play an important role in litigation. According to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 26(c), courts have the authority to issue protective orders limiting the disclosure of evidence that is produced during a civil discovery. Further, although it is clear that such orders can be modified for good cause, the courts are generally split on whether the order should automatically be waived in light of a grand jury subpoena. This question becomes all the more complicated when foreign evidence is involved, as one recent decision demonstrated.

In 2006, during an anti-competitive conduct investigation of several foreign-based companies, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sought the court’s permission to copy all documents produced during a related civil class action suit, including all foreign-based documents that were brought to the US solely in compliance with the civil discovery orders – which were subsequently granted a protective order. The court ruled that such a waiver was not permitted since doing so would effectively extend the grand jury subpoena beyond its ‘traditionally domestic reach’. This ruling is in line with the Second Circuit’s tendency of treating a subpoena for protected evidence the same way it treats a motion for modification, thus requiring the government to show compelling reasons why the protective order should be breached.

Contact our legal translation and interpretation firm to obtain certified translations of foreign language documents as evidence in civil or criminal cases.

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