Rogatory Letters Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Rogatory Letters, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Rogatory Letters?

(n) Rogatory Letters are the written requests made by a judge to the judge in another state to take testimony of a witness in that state in connection with the case pending trial with the former court.

History and Meaning of Rogatory Letters

Rogatory letters, also known as letters rogatory, have been a part of the legal system for centuries. The term itself comes from the Latin term "rogare," which means "to ask." In essence, rogatory letters are a formal request for assistance in obtaining evidence or testimony from another jurisdiction, typically between countries or states.

The use of rogatory letters has been a common practice in international law since the 17th century. It is a legal tool that allows courts to gather evidence or testimony from witnesses who are not within their jurisdiction. This process is often used in cases where a witness may have valuable information for a case, but is located in another country or state.

Examples of Rogatory Letters

  1. In a criminal case involving fraud, a judge in the United States may send a rogatory letter to a court in Europe requesting assistance in obtaining bank records from a financial institution located in that country.
  2. In a child custody case, a court in one country may send a rogatory letter to a court in another country requesting assistance in determining the child's best interests.
  3. In a civil case involving a contract dispute, a court may send a rogatory letter to a company located in another country requesting testimony from a key employee.

Legal Terms Similar to Rogatory Letters

  1. Letters of request - Similar to rogatory letters, letters of request are a legal tool used to request assistance from another jurisdiction in obtaining evidence or testimony.
  2. Letters rogatory, consular - These are specific types of rogatory letters that are sent between countries through diplomatic channels.
  3. Mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) - This is a formal agreement between two countries that outlines the process for exchanging evidence and testimony in criminal cases.