How to prepare for your Examination for Discovery

Once you have commenced legal proceedings and a Statement of Claim has been issued, there will come a point in time that you will be asked to attend your Examination for Discovery. 

What is an Examination for Discovery?

An Examination for Discovery is a meeting in which the Plaintiff or other party attends with their legal representative and counsel for either the Plaintiff or Defendant. This is an important event where the party, who under oath, provides answers to the questions asked on record before a court reporter. In other words, the Examination for Discovery is the other party’s opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the details of the claim being proposed. 

Examination for Discoveries are held on an agreeable date by counsel for both parties and will take place in an examiner’s office that is privately operated. 

Prior to a discovery taking place, you will be contacted by your lawyer to go over various preparations steps including reviewing any documents you may have. You will not be told what to say or things you should and shouldn’t answer. Instead, your lawyer will tell you to be as honest as possible and to advise the other party if you cannot recall the answer to a question being proposed to you. 

Aside from preparing for your Examination for Discovery with your lawyer, there are a few other tips that can help you be a great witness, including:

  • Retracing the events of the subject accident – ask yourself if you recall what happened from start to finish. Can you recall who you were with or what you did that day? What was the weather like on the day of your accident?
  • Pay close attention to the questions you are being asked – if you do not understand what is being asked of you, let it be known. A question can be rephrased in a way that you will understand and be given the opportunity to answer it truthfully
  • If you cannot recall something, do not make up something that is untrue – it is okay to not recall an event in its entirety
  • Stay calm and relaxed – while this one can be tough, it is always in your best interest to stay as calm as possible. Sometimes recalling traumatic events can bring up emotions of anger or sadness but you want to try your best to stay focused on the matter at hand 
  • If you did not hear the full question being asked, politely ask if the question can be repeated – it is important to listen carefully, so you do not give a wrong answer. Additionally, if you are using an interpreter and need something repeated, let the interpreter know so they may inform the other party

The last tip which should be applied to any point in your legal proceedings is to remain polite and courteous. It is understandable that being reminded of an accident or unfortunate event can stir up many negative emotions, and we sympathize with our clients that they are travelling what is often a long and hard journey. However, how you approach your discovery especially will have a great effect on the outcome of your case and we recommend you approach your discovery in a positive and truthful manner.