The purpose of Discovery
"The Discovery process compels pre-trial disclosure in
civil proceedings of relevant documents in the possession or
control of another party, or occasionally a non-party".
[Civil Procedure in the Superior Courts, Delaney and McGrath,
Roundhall Sweet and Maxwell, 2001 ].
The most significant purpose of discovery was set out
recently by Justice Geoghegan in the Supreme Court where he
indicated that the discovery process was not to enable the
settlement of a case but to provide a party with the necessary
ammunition to fight a case. Marie Taylor .v. Clonmel Healthcare
Limited [ 2004 1 IR 169 ].
When can an Application for Discovery be
An application for discovery can be made when the pleadings
have been exchanged in a case. i.e. after the Statement of
Claim and Defence have been served. Order 31, rule 12(4)(4)
provides that an application for discovery to the courts shall
not be made later than 28 days after the case has been listed
If discovery cannot be made voluntarily, an application for
discovery can be made to the Master of the High Court, which is
the court of first instance in all applications in the High
Court. Decisions of the Master can be appealed to the High
Court and then to the Supreme Court.
The Rules of Discovery
The rules of discovery are set out in Order 31, Rule 12 of
the Rules of the Superior Courts. Amendments have been made to
Order 31, Rule 12 which were implemented by Statutory
Instrument 233 of 1999: Rules of the Superior Courts ( No. 2 )
( Discovery ), 1999, which came into effect on the 3rd August
1999 ("the New Rules"). The amendments to the rules
were motivated by the desire to discourage very general
requests for discovery or ' fishing expeditions', which
had resulted in time wastage and unnecessary costs for parties
engaged in litigation.
Under the New Rules, an application for discovery must
comply with the following requirements:-
A written application seeking voluntary discovery is
required which must specify the precise category of documents
sought and which must furnish the reasons why each category
of documents is required to be discovered. Ref: 4, Order 31,
Rule 12 (4) (1) (a).
The Notice of Motion must specify the precise categories
of documents in respect of which discovery is sought. Ref: 5,
Order 31, Rule 12 Section 1 (1)
The Grounding Affidavit must verify that the documents
sought are necessary for disposing fairly of the cause or
matter or for saving...
The Discovery Process In Ireland
|Author:||Ms Lea Devitt|
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