disclosure and inspection of documents

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Disclosure by a party to civil litigation under Part 31 of the Civil Procedure Rules of the documents in his possession, custody, or power relating to matters in question in the action and their subsequent inspection by the opposing party. Before the introduction of the Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, this procedure was called discovery and inspection of documents. Directions for disclosure generally take place at the allocation stage or the case management conference and, unless the court directs or the parties agree otherwise, there will normally be a direction for standard disclosure. This involves a reasonable search by the parties to disclose documents on which that party intends to rely, documents that may be adverse to their own case or another party's case, documents that support another party's case, and documents that are required to be disclosed by any relevant Practice Direction. Once a party has served a list of documents, the other party, together with any co-defendants, must be allowed to inspect the documents referred to in the list. However, some documents, although they must be disclosed in the list, may be privileged and thus exempted from the requirement to produce them for inspection (see privilege). The court also has power under Part 31 of the Civil Procedure Rules to direct that specific disclosure and/or inspection be made. See also failure to make disclosure; nondisclosure.

Subjects: Law.

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