Are you trying to learn more about what an examination for discovery is? The opposing party is going to look at your strengths and weaknesses.
The examination will take place during a civil lawsuit. It might take place in the office of one of the law firms or a court reports office. It is the beginning of the pre-trial procedures.
The examination is also normally towards the end of the discovery process. The opposing lawyer will ask you a bunch of questions. Your lawyer will also get to ask the opposing party a number of questions.
This procedure often happens during business lawsuits or personal injury cases.
You might have self-represented to this point. However, it’s time to get a lawyer when you have an examination coming up. It is super important that you properly prepare for your examination.
You also must attend the examination. We have seen people in court get fined $10,000 for missing their examination date.
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Strengths And Weaknesses Of Each Party
In addition to the parties and lawyers, there will also be a court reporter there. They will prepare a written transcript to send to the parties. When you are answering the question, make sure to answer the questions truthfully.
An examination for discovery is an informal pre-trial procedure. The counsel for the claimant or respondent is entitled to ask you questions. This will be done under oath as to your knowledge of the matters in issue.
You might be asked the names and addresses of others who might have knowledge relating to the matters in issue. Your lawyer will attend with you through the examination.
They will confine the counsel’s questions to matters that are relevant and material.
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Examination For Discovery In Ontario
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You will see that an examination for discovery is only of use to the party doing the examination. Only that party can use the transcript at trial. Telling your side of the story is only useful to the examiner.
This is because it provides information and knowledge that he or she did not have before. Because of this, it is important to remember the following tips.
Listen carefully to the question you are asked. Answer each question as accurately and as truthfully as you can, but also be brief. Do not provide any information the examiner does not ask for.
Are you not sure whether you have answered the question fully? Then let the examiner ask another question.
There are three things that you must do during the examination:
- Carefully listen to the question
- Understand the question
- Answer only that question
If it’s a yes or no question, you can say yes or no. You want to talk as little as possible. Also, you must be truthful.
What questions will be asked at the examination for discovery?
You will likely be asked questions about the pleadings. If you are the one who filed the lawsuit, you will likely be asked about your legal claim. If you have been sent questions to answer before, they might re-ask those same questions.
They might ask you about the response that they filed as well. There are different questions that can be asked.
The idea might be to try and get you to answer key questions about the claim. If you answer differently than what the claim said, or what you say as a witness at trial, you might be in trouble.
You are entitled to explain an answer if the explanation will correct a misapprehension. Also, if the explanation will reduce the impact of an answer that helps the other side. Your lawyer will advise if they think an answer you have given requires further explanation.
If you need to look at a document to answer a question accurately, please ask for the document.
An examination for discovery is a procedure that takes place in all civil actions. Each party is examined under oath by the other side before a court reporter. The court reporter transcribes the examination in question-and-answer form.
The procedure is quite informal. No judge is present.
Those usually present are the court reporter, the examining lawyer, sometimes his or her client, the person being examined, and his or her lawyer. They all sit around a table where the examination takes place.
Adjournments (breaks) take place whenever somebody requests one.
There are a few purposes of an examination for discovery. One is to obtain admissions from the other side that will help your side prove facts at trial. The examiner is entitled, at the trial, to read the questions and answers from the transcript.
This is the same as if the person examined were in the witness box being asked that question and giving that answer. What is read then becomes evidence at the trial. At the trial, as many or as few questions and answers can be read as the lawyer decides.
The other purpose is, quite simply, to find out the other party’s story. This is useful because, since the statement is given under oath and is being transcribed, it is unlikely to change. Therefore, you can prepare your own case in light of what you know the other side is going to say.
Make sure you understand the question. Lawyers may ask long, complicated questions that are really five or six questions rolled into one. If you aren’t sure what the examiner means, ask him or her to clarify.
Do not try to answer two questions at the same time. Make the examiner ask you one question at a time.
The Opposing Party Will Be Asked Questions
Be careful if asked to give your recollection of conversations. Avoid talking about what you may have been told by other people. It is not possible for anybody to remember a conversation precisely. You should be careful not to say “I don’t remember”, when in fact you remember the gist of the conversation, but not the exact words.
When asked “what did you say”, you should explain that you cannot remember precisely what was said. If you remember the gist of the conversation or activity, then say so. However, always advise that you are offering the information in that fashion.
Answer the question in your own time. This is very important. There is no hurry in an examination for discovery. Think about the answer. Tell the examiner precisely what he or she asks for.
Answer the question in your own words. Do not be pressed into using phrases used by the examiner. Sometimes, a lawyer examining a witness will try to put words in the witness’s mouth.
These words may be partially true but may be misleading. Answer the question the way you want it answered. Do not be pressed into answering a question ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if such an answer is inappropriate or misleading.
Prepare For Your Examination For Discovery
Don’t worry about whether a question is a proper one to be asked. Leave that to your lawyer. If your lawyer considers the question to be inappropriate, they will state their objection on the record. They will then probably have a discussion with the other lawyer as to whether or not the question should be answered.
If your lawyer then advises you not to answer the question, you respond by saying “I refuse to answer that question on the advice of my lawyer”. This is why it’s critical to have your own lawyer.
You shouldn’t worry about whether your answers are helping or hurting your case. If you start to concern yourself with that problem, you may begin to lose focus on your role in the exercise. Please remember to listen carefully to the question, think about your answer, and then respond.
Examination For Discovery Questions
Remember, what you’ve seen at the movies or on television about courtroom scenes involving cross-examination is not really representative of the truth. If you understand the question there is no way anybody can prove otherwise.
Do not, therefore, be concerned about the effect of your answers.
You should review the pleadings because you may be asked questions specifically related to some or all of the allegations. If necessary, ask your lawyer for an explanation of anything you don’t understand before the examination.
Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law