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The Importance of Discovery in a Court of Law

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Discovery is an essential part of legal proceedings should you ever find yourself in the midst of a legal case. Discovery is the legal term used when one side (plaintiff or defendant; petitioner or respondent) requests an array of documentation from the opposing party. This includes documentation that is not readily available to the public, or in this instance, the opposing party.


Discovery is very important if you are wanting to obtain specific information to further strengthen your case or disprove the other side. This provides a chance for both sides to build a strong case and further provide evidence to support their claim. Since discovery is not public, readily available documentation, the right discovery could have a major impact on a case. Of course, this is all greatly subject to change and varies immensely from situation to situation and the specific case it pertains to.


There are several different types of discovery all presented in different forms. Discovery could include, the production of documents, interrogatories, admissions, and depositions. One of the most important matters to remember here is relevancy. Requesting any type of discovery should always be relevant to the ongoing case.

  • Production of documents refers to requesting specific documentation from the opposing side. This could include a request for producing tax return documents, bank statements, retirement accounts, mortgage statements, etc.
  • Interrogatories is a term pertaining to answering a list of case-specific questions. This is presented as a written set of questions from one side to the other. As in all legal instances, it is important to remember to answer the questions honestly and to the best of your ability.
  • Admissions is not a very commonly used discovery; the easiest way to look at it is like answering a series of “true or false” statements. One side presents questions to the opposing side and each question must be answered in agreement or denial of the presented question. 
  • Depositions is a form of discovery you may be most familiar with from TV. A deposition refers to one party asking the other party to answer a series of questions under oath. This is typically done in person, at an attorney’s office. It can be a useful tool to determine how one party might respond to a series of questions pertaining to the case, so the other party may adjust their strategy for an impending trial.


Discovery can be requested by either party in a case, and it is done so by submitting a written request to the opposing side. Your attorney can request discovery from the opposing party and the opposing party can request documents from you, as well. The requested discovery documentation must be relevant to the case at hand. For example, in a family law case, if you are establishing child support, you could request discovery of the opposing party’s paystubs, proof of income, or bank statements to help calculate the payments.

When it comes to providing the discovery documentation, if you have retained legal counsel, your attorney will provide the discovery to the opposing counsel, however, it is up to the client to provide the information requested to their own legal counsel. It is key to remember that while a lawyer may represent you in a legal case and may be privy to reviewing confidential information, such as discoveries, an attorney cannot legally obtain such classified information on your behalf. Thus, the burden of obtaining the discovery paperwork falls on the client.


Many different types of legal cases can require discovery. As aforementioned this is simply a term for obtaining case-specific private information. This can pertain to litigation cases, family law matters, real estate, and many more different practice-area cases. In any event for request of discovery, it is vital to always remember to be truthful, produce the requested information in the allotted time, and listen to your attorney’s recommendations, if you have retained legal counsel. Discoveries are extremely important in a case, and should the requirements not be met by one side or the other, there could be severe consequences to the outcome of a case. While many discoveries seem personal, that is the nature of the discovery – information that may be relevant to a case and not readily available to the public.


Each and every case and situation is unique, if you or someone you know find yourselves in need of legal assistance, you can always consult one of our experienced attorneys for legal advice. If you would like to schedule a consultation, you can contact our office online by submitting a contact form or by directly calling our office at (317) 743-7958. Our attorneys practice a variety of different laws, including but not limited to, immigration law, divorce, family law, criminal defense, litigation, probate, intellectual property, foreclosure defense, wills, prenuptial agreements, power of attorney and much more!

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.