Documentary Discovery and Disclosure in Ottawa Personal Injury Cases

In Ontario, there is a set of rules that govern exchange of documents between parties involved in the court action. They are called the Rules of Civil Procedure. The aim of advanced documentary disclosure and discovery is to ensure that all parties are prepared for trial and has fair disclosure of all relevant documents well in advance of a trial. This way, there will be few surprises at trial relation to relevant documents. With full and complete documentary disclosure, the parties can better prepare for trial and make informed decisions in relation to their case. Broad early disclosure of relevant documents often leads to more settlements. As a result, fewer cases take up valuable for time with mandatory documentary disclosure. The basic requirements for documentary discovery are set out in rule 30 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The rules require every party disclose every document that is relevant to any matter in issue in an action whether or not privilege is claimed. All documents that are in the party’s possession, control, or power must be disclosed if they are relevant to any matter in issue in an action. Documents include a variety of things including paper documents, photographs, films, charts, graphs, maps, plans, data in electronic form, sound recordings, videos etc. The list outlined in the rules are not exhaustive. The courts have given a liberal interpretation of the term document found in the Rules of Civil Procedure.
In the past, the rules required disclosure of all documents that had a “semblance of relevance” to a matter in issue. However, on January 1, 2010, the requirement for documentary disclosure was amended to only require disclosure of “relevant” documents. A document will be deemed relevant if it satisfies two criteria: it is logically connected to a matter that is an issue action and it has persuasive value in determining whether an alleged fact has been proven or not.
On the issue of documents that are in possession, control or power of a party, under the rules, documents may be deemed in the possession, control or power of a party even if those documents are not physically in the possession of that party. A document will be deemed to be in the power for control of a party if that party is entitled to obtain the document, a copy of the document and the party seeking the disclosure of the document does not have the power to obtain the document.
Documentary disclosure is part of the examination for discovery process which is one of the most important aspects of civil litigation. The discovery process allows one party to learn about the other parties case and obtain admissions to prove their own case. The use of examination for discovery can lead to valuable admissions, narrow the issues, obtain valuable information about expert evidence in which witnesses will be called at trial, obtain and review documentary evidence and explore settlement of the case.
At QTMG personal-injury lawyers, our lawyers are trained in all aspects of civil litigation including documentary discovery and examinations for discovery. Our lawyers attend ongoing continuing legal education seminars focused on litigation skills enhancement.
If you or someone you care about has been injured in an accident, please feel free to contact any of our lawyers for free consultation. Our lawyers work on a contingency fee basis which means that no fees are charged until you win.
This brief article is provided for information purposes only. Each case must be assessed on their own facts and the content of this article is not comprehensively deal with all aspects of a personal injury matter or discovery process. Contact us detailed information.
Ottawa Injury and Accident Lawyers
Marc N. Quinn, Injury lawyer and Mediator