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How Does Discovery Work in a Civil Trial?

Discovery is one of the most critical elements of a civil trial where a judge and/or jury is also present and involved. The process of discovery is useful to demonstrate clear issues or legal woes linked to the case while providing both sides an opportunity to present their evidence in a court of law. Understanding what the discovery process entails is essential anytime you are involved in a civil case or matter, regardless of what side you are on. 

Document Disclosure

During the discovery process of a civil legal matter, both parties involved will be asked to present any documents that include relevant information or evidence as it pertains to the individual case itself. Document disclosure can include signed contracts, medical records, printed verified emails, validated photos, and in some cases, even electronic documents. 

Electronic Discovery

Electronic discovery, also commonly referred to as e-Discovery, is another process that is common during the discovery of a civil matter or trial. During discovery, e-Discovery will be required, involving the exchange of various emails, work agreements, contracts, and relevant documents electronically. Electronic discovery is becoming increasingly important during the discovery process in general with the uptick in utilizing electronic signatures and online communications for business purposes. 


Depending on the type of trial you are in, depositions may also be requested and/or required by law and by any judge who is currently overseeing the case. Depositions require both parties and any witnesses involved in a case to answer questions under oath while being recorded on video. These depositions can then be utilized in a court of law during the actual discovery process to further present a narrative. 


In some instances, subpoenas may also be issued to request the presence of a witness for testifying purposes. Subpoenas that are issued may also require individuals who are summoned to provide various types of evidence, including documents and contractual agreements, depending on the type of civil case that is being reviewed.

Learning about the process of discovery in a civil matter is extremely helpful anytime you are presenting a case in front of a judge or even an entire jury. The more familiar you are with the process of discovery and what is expected, the less likely you are to find yourself caught off-guard unexpectedly. When you know how to prepare for discovery in a case, you can do so knowing you have covered all bases before you present evidence and your narrative to the court.


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