Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Disclosure Definition:

The delivery to the other side of a legal matter of relevant documents or other evidence.

Related Terms: Cross Examination, Examination for Discovery

Disclosure is a generic term and has several compartments to it. The examination for discovery, for example, is a well-known and significant portion of discovery but focuses exclusively on the cross examination of the other side to active litigation.

But in the civil litigation stream, disclosure also means the identification and surrendering to the other side of photocopies of all documents which might be relevant to the action, whether favorable or unfavorable to the party making the disclosure, although the obligation to surrender unfavorable documents is not consistently applied in jurisdictions throughout the world. But at the very least, disclosure requires a party to deliver, or at least offer to deliver, to the other side, all documents that might be raised at trial.

The obligation to make disclosure to the other side can sometimes be used by the party making the disclosure to tactical advantage by providing, for example, multiple bankers boxes of documentation which instantly increases the cost for the party receiving the documentation as of their lawyer or themselves must go through the thousands of pages of documents to try to sort out what might and what will not be used at trial or otherwise relevant. this type of conduct in litigation is not encouraged but is difficult to prove other form of litigation misconduct.

In the context of a criminal trial, disclosure refers to the surrendering of relevant evidence such as confessions, statements, witness lists or scientific evidence to the defendant before trial.

In French, the word disclosure is properly translated as production de la preuve or as regards only the production of documents, la production de documents.

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