Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit in which each party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence from the opposing party by means of discovery devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents, requests for admissions and depositions.
The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904)
- Quotes reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, The Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 72-73.
- Discovery is a matter of remedy, and not matter of right.
- Lord Watson, Ind, Coope & Co. v. Emmerson (1887), 12 L. R. Ap. Ca. 309.
- Now, in deciding whether discovery ought to be given, we must first consider whether it will help the plaintiff at the trial. If it will not, but will only be of use if the plaintiff obtains a decree, then … we consider whether it is fair that the defendant should be obliged to give it at this stage of the proceedings, or whether to compel him to give it would be oppressive.
- Jessel, M.R., Parker v. Wells (1881), L. R. 18 C. D. 483.
- The Court is always unwilling before the right to relief is established to make an order for discovery which may be injurious to the defendant, and will only be useful to the plaintiff if he succeeds in establishing his title to relief.
- Cotton, L.J., Fennessy v. Clark (1887), L. R. 37 C. D. 186.
- This is the kind of order which makes the administration of justice stink in the nostrils of commercial men.
- A. L. Smith, L.J., Graham v. Sutton, Carden & Co. (1897), L. R. 1 Ch. D. , p. 765.
- Where a man speaks upon a subject of his own accord, he naturally tells the whole of what he knows; but where he is examined on interrogatories formally administered to him, his answers are naturally confined to the particulars to which he is so interrogated; and as the examining party generally knows beforehand the scope of the witness's evidence, he has an opportunity of so shaping his questions as that they may elicit everything in his favour with which the witness is acquainted, and keep back everything of a contrary tendency.
- Sir John Bayley, 1st Baronet, Berkeley Peerage Case (1811), 4 Camp. 405; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 106.