The Discovery phase in the litigation process is essential to any lawsuit. Both parties exchange information and evidence relevant to the case. It allows each side to gain a better understanding of the other’s claims, defenses, and evidence.
In Alberta, discovery is broken into two parts, document discovery and oral discovery.
In the first stage, the parties prepare and compile all the documentary evidence that is relevant and material to their case in an Affidavit of Records. This can include contracts, emails, financial records, photographs, and other evidence. This is exchanged between the parties.
The second stage is oral discoveries, or Questioning, as we call it in Alberta. This involves oral testimony given under oath before a court reporter. Lawyers for both sides can question parties, or other individuals who have knowledge of the facts or issues in the case. Questioning allows the lawyers to assess the credibility of the witnesses and gather additional information.
Other less common components of discovery can include:
- Requests for Admission: Requests for admission are statements presented to the other party that seek to establish certain facts or matters as undisputed. The receiving party must respond, either admitting or denying the statements.
- Interrogatories: Interrogatories are written questions one party sends to the other. The receiving party must respond in writing under oath within a specified timeframe. These questions may seek details about the parties involved, the facts of the case, the legal claims, and the evidence each side intends to present.
- Expert Witness Disclosures: If expert witnesses will be called during trial, each side must disclose the identities of their experts and provide a summary of their anticipated testimony and opinions.
Remember that the discovery process is part of the litigation strategy to gather information and evidence for trial. Proper preparation and understanding the discovery process can help ensure your case is presented effectively when it comes to trial or negotiation for settlement.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind.