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Discovery in Litigation

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Definition:

The discovery process in litigation is compulsory disclosure of information relating to the litigation. Each party in a trial may demand discovery of the other party. For example, the defense may require the prosecution to disclose all information gathered to bring the case to trial.

Pre-trial discovery includes interrogatories, depositions, requests for admissions, and requests for production.

  • Interrogatories are written questions submitted by the other side's attorney and which must be answered before the trial begins.
  • A deposition is a written statement, usually transcribed by a court reporter, which is used later during a trial. Often a deposition is taken for a witness who is not able to attend the trial; in this case, the deposition may be read at trial.
  • Requests for admission are written factual statements served on another party who must admit, deny, or object to the substance of the statement. It's common for many requests for admission to be included in one document. Statements which are admitted do not have to be proved at trial.
  • Requests for production, like requests for admission, are written requests to another party provide specific documents or other tangible evidence.
All of these discovery items are pre-trial.

Source: Black's Law Dictionary

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