Family Law Blog

What is an Examination for Discovery?

What is an Examination for Discovery?

When we’re helping clients prepare for upcoming cases one of the first steps is typically to go through an Examination for Discovery process. The discovery process allows both sides to discover the other side’s point of view regarding what happened in the case. Think of it as important preparation that allows each party to find out where they stand on the when and the where of the case.

While the Examination for Discovery process is a vital part of law, most people aren’t aware of it until it’s their turn to take part. In this week’s blog, we’re discussing the Examination for Discovery process and how you can prepare to make the most of it.

How the Examination for Discovery Process Works

The discovery process typically takes place in a meeting room with both parties and their lawyers present. A court reporter will also be present to take notes and mark any evidence that is presented during the meeting. While some nerves are common before this meeting, it should be viewed as a strictly fact-finding exercise with no legal decisions arising from it. Here’s how the discovery process works.

Discovery of Documents

Both parties must disclose in the meeting all of the documents they plan to present at trial to prove or disprove a material fact. You will be asked to describe the documents and even make them available for the other party to examine at the meeting.

The Examination

During the Examination for Discovery meeting, a broad range of questions will like be asked. Both lawyers will be doing their best to establish all the facts pertaining to the case, as they both try to find the information needed to build a compelling argument. A good lawyer will ensure no inappropriate questions are asked of you and are entitled to object if this occurs. If the opposing lawyer believes the question is of legal importance to the case, they can request a court application to compel the other party to answer. These meetings will usually last for a few hours, depending on the complexity and the facts involved.


Don’t be put off by the scary sounding name! Interrogatories are a more formal type of fact finding where a series of written questions are provided to the other party to be answered in writing. These can be used in the legal proceeding but the court involved will need to give permission for this to occur.

Pre-Trial Examination of Witnesses

This optional step allows the lawyers to speak to a witness, who may have material evidence pertaining to the case, in advance of any legal proceeding. Like the Interrogatories mentioned above, it can only be used with permission of the court.

Notices to Admit  

Another optional step in the process, Notices to Admit allow both parties to ask each other to admit the truth of certain facts. While not always used, this step can be vital in establishing facts and giving both sides a clear idea of where they stand ahead of the legal proceeding.

Let Westside Family Law Help

Preparing for an Examination for Discovery? You don’t need to prepare alone! At Westside, we’ve helped countless clients prepare for this process. Contact us and we’ll be happy to assist you.