Discovery in the world of law is an important concept and process with which to get to grips. Here, we provide a discovery definition law wise so that those who have heard the terms with respect to their own legal proceedings fully understand it before those proceedings begin.

What is discovery in law?

The term discovery, when used in law contracts, refers to a pretrial procedure. It is when two sides of a lawsuit are able to gather evidence from one another. 

The means with which they do so can be through many forms of discovery - it could be interrogatories (written questions sent to one side from the other), within documentations and records or depositions (a witness is questioned by lawyers from both sides). 

Discovery is also possible from parties outside of the lawsuit through a subpoena. There is also a relatively new discovery law which refers to electronic discovery - or ediscovery. This process is with regards to any evidence found within electronic data and electronic records. 

How does discovery work?

Discovery works through a number of different evidence or fact finding methods. Those, briefly mentioned above, are interrogatories, requests for admission, requests for production and depositions. In short, it is a process that insists both parties to admit or deny facts found in any one of these evidence finding methods.

Depending on the complexity of the case, the discovery process can take anything from a few weeks to months to complete. That is due to lawyers needing to go through the evidence with a fine tooth comb to ensure there is the right level of detail and evidence to support their case and prove it beyond reasonable doubt.

Advantages of discovery 

Discovery is an important part of the legal process. It helps both sides of a lawsuit ascertain what the best way forward is once all the evidence they require is collected. By having all the evidence, and therefore facts of the case, both sides can better weigh up their chances in the case and try to predict the likelihood of an outcome. 

As a result, a huge benefit to discovery is the fact that many lawsuits stop before going to trial upon the findings made within the discovery. The discovery therefore shortens legal proceedings and can result in a settlement much earlier than protracted proceedings in a court. Not only does that save a great deal of time, it can also save both sides a lot of money in terms of legal costs. 

If the case does go to trial, it prevents either party being blindsided by information of which they were unaware. It can therefore mean that both sides are able to prepare for certain evidence and ensure that there is an answer for it. On the flipside of that, it also means that any evidence that may have been thought of as useful initially, may become unused. It may be that it does not support the case, or it may have a negative impact for one (or both) sides. 

Contractbook and discovery

At Contractbook, we are all for legal proceedings that help support a person’s legal viewpoint or opinion. Our contracts are definitely something that can be used within a discovery and used as hard evidence in either a court case or to help support a person’s settlement claim.

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