What is Discovery (Lawsuits)?

The litigation process in Singapore involves various stages. Prior to the day of the trial, and after parties had filed their respective cases, the Singapore court will hold Pre-Trial Conferences (“PTC”) wherein the Registrar of the Singapore court will give directions to parties on the next step to be taken before the day of the trial.

One of the necessary steps to be taken before trial is the process of “Discovery”, wherein each party is required to prepare, list down, file and exchange the “evidences” that each party is intending to rely on in the trial.

What is the purpose of Discovery?

The main purpose of the Discovery is for both parties to exchange ALL evidence related to the trial, including evidence that could:

  • Adversely affect a party’s own case;
  • Adversely affect another party’s case; or
  • Support another party’s case.

The intention of the Discovery is to allow both parties to present all their evidence and to exchange the evidence before the trial. This will allow parties to be aware of the evidence that may be presented at trial and to allow parties to understand their case better. Parties may also make an application to the Court to request for “discovery” of further evidence from the other parties that are involved in the legal action.

What are the advantages of the process of Discovery?

The process of Discovery prevents a “trial by ambush”, where one party may not learn of the evidence or the other party’s cases before the trial.

The process of Discovery allows the parties to better understand the extent and the strength of their cases prior to trial. This may persuade the parties to attempt for an amicable settlement of the matter or to seek further evidence to support their contention in trial.

A discovery process may also potentially save the time and cost for the parties involved in the trial as the parties will be “locked” to their evidence rather than potential “surprises” during the trial.

What happens during Discovery?

For a matter under the Magistrate Court, parties are required to file their evidence in a List of Documents when the Statement of Claim or Defence (whichever applicable) is filed to the Court. This will allow an upfront disclosure of their evidence and allow each party to facilitate an early assessment of their case before considering moving forward with their available options.

For all other civil suits aside from the Magistrate Court, the Court may give directions during the Pre-Trial Conference as to when parties ought to prepare their List of Documents enumerating the evidence that they are intending to present at trial.

Once the List of Documents has been exchanged, parties are at liberty to request to examine the evidence or to request for a copy of the evidence that was listed in the List of Documents.

Need Advice ?

Speak to a Lawyer Now

At Lions Chambers LLC, we pride ourselves on being responsive. We understand that some problems need immediate attention, let us assist you.

What if the other party hide Documents during the Discovery?

There are occasions wherein parties intentionally or unintentionally failed to provide evidence that may be relevant to the trial. In such circumstances, any party to the proceeding may consider making an application to the Court to request for the specific evidence to be presented to the Court. The Court may then direct the party to provide for the evidence, if it is within their possession, or otherwise, an explanation as to the whereabouts of the evidence.

While the party may be at liberty to make the application in Court, it may be prudent and cost-saving to attempt to request for the evidence first from the opposing party before commencing the Summons application.

What happens after Discovery?

After the Discovery is completed and the matter had yet to be settled, the Registrar hearing the matter will then arrange for the matter to be moved to trial. A trial date will then be given, and parties will then be directed to prepare their bundle in preparation for trial.

While evidence may still be presented at this stage, the Court may be reluctant to accept the evidence. You may wish to seek legal advice and legal assistance if you wish to present any evidence once the discovery stage has been closed.

How We Can Help You

Lions Chambers LLC is an established law firm in Singapore. Our team of lawyers specialise in various areas of law and will be able to assist you. Our consultations are free. Please call +65 8777 3677 or click here to WhatsApp us today.