De-Mystifying Discovery: What is an Examination for Discovery?
BC Civil Lawsuits: What is an “Examination for Discovery”
In preparation for trial or in anticipation of an early settlement agreement, each party to a civil lawsuit has the right to ascertain what facts are known by the opposing party, under the BC Supreme Court Civil Rules, Rule 7-1 – 7-8. The purpose of an examination for discovery is to gain a better understanding of what the opposing party’s case is by obtaining the oral testimony of witnesses under oath. The witnesses to be examined are determined by both parties but must be limited to those with materially relevant information (information that speaks directly to disputed facts in the lawsuit). Before the examination is conducted each party must disclose all documents they intend to reply on in making their case (generally this will mean any documents that will be used as evidence or examinations at trial).
Discovery is Conducted Under Oath
The discovery will be held in a boardroom with a reporter and unlike during trial, there will be no judge present. However it is important to remember that the discovery is conducted under oath and therefore witnesses must answer truthfully to avoid perjury. Importantly, a witness must answer all questions asked on any relevant subject, unless the question involves privileged (i.e. discussions between the witness and their lawyer) information. A person may also be compelled to provide the name and address of any person who may reasonably be expected to have knowledge of any materially relevant information.
Critical to the Success of Any Lawsuit
While this process may seem foreign and daunting, your lawyer should fully prepare you to ensure the best outcome both at discovery and moving forward into trial. In any event, having a better understanding of the purposes and requirement of discovery will assist you in your preparations. Examinations for Discovery are critical to the success of any lawsuit.