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Rules of the Superior Courts

Order: 31

Interrogatories, discovery and inspection.

The below amendment(s) have been made to this instrument which can be viewed by clicking on the link(s):

No31-S.I. No. 265 Of 1993: Rules Of The Superior Courts (No. 2) Of 1993
No31-S.I. No. 233 Of 1999: Rules Of The Superior Courts (No. 2) (Discovery), 1999
No31-S.I. No. 93 Of 2009: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Discovery) 2009
No31-S.I. No. 254 Of 2016: Rules Of The Superior Courts (Conduct Of Trials) 2016


1. In any cause or matter where relief by way of damages or otherwise is sought on the ground of fraud or breach of trust, the plaintiff may at any time after delivering his statement of claim, and a defendant may at or after the time of delivering his defence, without any order for that purpose, and in every other cause or matter any party may by leave of the Court, upon such terms as to security for costs or otherwise as the Court may direct, deliver interrogatories in writing for the examination of the opposite parties, or any one or more of such parties, and such interrogatories when delivered shall have a note at the foot thereof, stating which of such interrogatories each of such persons is required to answer: provided that no party shall deliver more than one set of interrogatories to the same party without an order for that purpose; provided also that interrogatories which do not relate to any matters in question in the cause or matter shall be deemed irrelevant, notwithstanding that they might be admissible on the oral cross-examination of a witness.

2. A copy of the interrogatories proposed to be delivered shall be delivered with the notice of application for leave to deliver them, unless the Court shall otherwise order, and the particular interrogatories sought to be delivered shall be submitted to and considered by the Court. In deciding upon such application, the Court shall take into account any offer which may be made by the party sought to be interrogated, to deliver particulars, or to make admissions, or to produce documents, relating to any matter in question. Leave shall be given as to such only of the interrogatories as shall be considered necessary either for disposing fairly of the cause or matter or for saving costs.

3. In adjusting the costs of the cause or matter inquiry shall at the instance of any party be made into the propriety of exhibiting such interrogatories, and if it is the opinion of the Taxing Master or of the Court, either with or without an application for inquiry, that such interrogatories have been exhibited unreasonably, vexatiously, or at improper length, the costs occasioned by the said interrogatories and the answers thereto shall be paid in any event by the party in fault.

4. Interrogatories shall be in the Form No. 8 in Appendix C.

5. If any party to a cause or matter be a body corporate or a joint stock company, whether incorporated or not, or any other body of persons, empowered by law to sue or be sued, whether in its own name or in the name of any officer or other person, any opposite party may apply for an order allowing him to deliver interrogatories to any member or officer of such corporation, company, or body, and an order may be made accordingly.

6. Any objection to answering any one or more of several interrogatories on the ground that it is or they are scandalous or irrelevant, or not bona fide for the purpose of the cause or matter, or that the matters inquired into are not sufficiently material at that stage, or on any other ground, may be taken in the affidavit in answer.

7. Any interrogatories may be set aside on the ground that they have been exhibited unreasonably or vexatiously, or struck out on the ground that they are prolix, oppressive, unnecessary, or scandalous: and any application for this purpose may be made within seven days after service of the interrogatories.

8. Interrogatories shall be answered by affidavit to be filed within ten days, or within such other time as the Court may allow.

9. An affidavit in answers to interrogatories shall be in the Form No. 9 in Appendix C.

10. No exception shall be taken to any affidavit in answer but the sufficiency or otherwise of any such affidavit objected to as insufficient shall be determined by the Court on motion.

11. If any person interrogated omits to answer, or answers insufficiently, the party interrogating may apply to the Court for an order requiring him to answer, or to answer further, as the case may be; and an order may be made requiring him to answer or answer further, either by affidavit or by viva voce examination, as the Court may direct.

12. (1) Any party may, without filing any affidavit, apply to the Court for an order directing any other party to any cause or matter to make discovery on oath of the documents which are or have been in his possession or power, relating to any matter in question therein. On the hearing of such application the Court may either refuse or adjourn the same, if satisfied that such discovery is not necessary, or not necessary at that stage of the cause or matter, or make such order on such terms as to security for the costs of discovery or otherwise and either generally or limited to certain classes of documents as may be thought fit.

(2) On any such application the Court, in lieu of ordering an affidavit of documents to be filed, may order that the party from whom discovery is sought shall deliver to the opposite party a list of the documents which are or have been in his possession, custody, or power, relating to the matters in question. Such list shall, as nearly as may be, follow the form of the affidavit prescribed in rule 13. The ordering of the delivery of such list shall not preclude the Court from afterwards ordering the making and filing of an affidavit of documents.

(3) An order shall not be made under this rule if and so far as the Court shall be of opinion that it is not necessary either for disposing fairly of the cause or matter or for saving costs.

13. The affidavit, to be made by a party against whom such order as is mentioned in rule 12 (1), has been made, shall specify which, if any, of the documents therein mentioned he objects to produce, and it shall be in the Form No. 10 in Appendix C.

14. The Court may at any time during the pendency of any cause or matter, order the production by any party thereto, upon oath, of such of the documents in his possession or power, relating to any matter in question in such cause or matter, as the Court shall think right; and the Court may deal with such documents, when produced, in such manner as shall appear just.

15. Every party to a cause or matter shall be entitled at any time, by notice in writing, to give notice to any other party, in whose pleadings, or affidavit or list of documents reference is made to any document, to produce such document for the inspection of the party giving such notice, or of his solicitor, and to permit copies thereof to be taken; and any party not complying with such notice shall not afterwards be at liberty to put any such documents in evidence on his behalf in such cause or matter, unless he shall satisfy the Court that such document relates only to his own title, he being a defendant to the cause or matter, or that he had some other cause or excuse which the Court shall deem sufficient for not complying with such notice; in which case the Court may allow the same to be put in evidence on such terms as to costs and otherwise as the Court shall think fit.

16. Notice to any party to produce any documents referred to in his pleadings or affidavit or list of documents shall be in the Form No. 11 in Appendix C.

17. The party to whom such notice is given, shall, within two days from the receipt of such notice, if all the documents therein referred to have been set forth by him in such affidavit or list as is mentioned in rule 13, or if any of the documents referred to in such notice have been set forth by him in any such affidavit or list, then within four days from the receipt of such notice, deliver to the party giving the same a notice stating a time within three days from the delivery thereof, at which the documents, or such of them as he does not object to produce, may be inspected at the office of his solicitor, or in the case of bankers' books or other books of account, or books in constant use for the purposes of any trade or business, at their usual place of custody, and stating which (if any) of the documents he objects to produce, and on what ground. Such notice shall be in the Form No. 12 in Appendix C.

18. (1) If the party served with notice under rule 15 omits to give such notice of a time for inspection or objects to give inspection, or offers inspection elsewhere than at the office of his solicitor, the Court may, on the application of the party desiring it, make an order for inspection in such place and in such manner as it may think fit; and, except in the case of documents referred to in the pleadings or affidavits of the party against whom the application is made, or disclosed in his affidavit or list of documents, such application shall be founded upon an affidavit showing of what documents inspection is sought, that the party applying is entitled to inspect them and that they are in the possession or power of the other party.

(2) An order shall not be made under this rule if and so far as the Court shall be of opinion that it is not necessary either for disposing fairly of the cause or matter or for saving costs.

19. If the party from whom discovery of any kind or inspection is sought objects to the same, or any part thereof, the Court may, if satisfied that the right to the discovery or inspection sought depends on the determination of any issue or question in dispute in the cause or matter, or that for any other reason it is desirable that any issue or question in dispute in the cause or matter should be determined before deciding upon the right to the discovery or inspection, order that such issue or question be determined first, and reserve the question as to the discovery or inspection.

20. (1) Where inspection of any business books is applied for, the Court may, instead of ordering inspection of the original books, order a copy of any entries therein to be furnished and verified by the affidavit of some person who has examined the copy with the original entries, and such affidavit shall state whether or not there are in the original book any and what erasures, interlineations, or alterations. Provided that, notwithstanding that such copy has been supplied, the Court may order inspection of the book from which the copy was made.

(2) Where on an application for an order for inspection privilege is claimed for any document, the Court may inspect the document for the purpose of deciding as to the validity of the claim for privilege.

(3) The Court may, on the application of any party to a cause or matter at any time, and whether an affidavit or list of documents shall or shall not have already been ordered or made, make an order requiring any other party to state by affidavit whether any one or more specific documents, to be specified in the application, is or are, or has or have at any time been in his possession or power; and, if not then in his possession, when he parted with the same, and what has become thereof. Such application shall be made on an affidavit stating that in the belief of the deponent the party against whom the application is made has, or has at some time had, in his possession or power the document or documents specified in the application, and that they relate to the matters in question in the cause or matter, or to some of them.

21. If any party fails to comply with any order to answer interrogatories, or for discovery or inspection of documents, he shall be liable to attachment. He shall also, if a plaintiff be liable to have his action dismissed for want of prosecution, and, if a defendant, to have his defence, if any, struck out, and to be placed in the same position as if he had not defended, and the party interrogating may apply to the Court for an order to that effect, and an order may be made accordingly.

22. Service of an order for interrogatories or discovery or inspection made against any party on his solicitor shall be sufficient service to found an application for an attachment for disobedience to the order. But the party against whom the application for attachment is made may show in answer to the application that he has had no notice or knowledge of the order.

23. A solicitor, upon whom an order against any party for interrogatories or discovery or inspection is served under rule 22, who neglects without reasonable excuse to give notice thereof to his client, shall be liable to attachment.

24. Any party may, at the trial of a cause, matter, or issue, use in evidence any one or more of the answers or any part of an answer of the opposite party to interrogatories without putting in the others or the whole of such answer; provided always that in such case the Court may look at the whole of the answers, and if it shall be of opinion that any others of them are so connected with those put in that the last-mentioned answers ought not to be used without them, it may direct them to be put in.

25. In every cause, or matter, the costs of discovery, by interrogatories, or otherwise, shall unless otherwise ordered by the Court, be allowed, as part of the costs of the party seeking discovery, either as between party and party or solicitor and client, where, and only where, such discovery shall be certified by the Court at the trial, or, if there is no trial, shall appear to the Court, or to the Taxing Master, upon special grounds to be certified by such Taxing Master, to have been reasonably asked for.

26. In any action against or by a sheriff or county registrar in respect of any matters connected with the execution of office of sheriff, the Court may, on the application of either party, order that the affidavit to be made in answer either to interrogatories or to an order for discovery shall be made by the officer actually concerned.

27. This Order shall apply to infant plaintiffs and defendants and to their next friends and guardians ad litem.

28. This Order shall not authorise an order for discovery or inspection being made against an informant suing on behalf of the State or the People, and every such informant shall be entitled without an order for that purpose to deliver interrogatories at any time before issue joined.

29. Any person not a party to the cause or matter before the Court who appears to the Court to be likely to have or to have had in his possession custody or power any documents which are relevant to an issue arising or likely to arise out of the cause or matter or is or is likely to be in a position to give evidence relevant to any such issue may by leave of the Court upon the application of any party to the said cause or matter be directed by order of the Court to answer such interrogatories or to make discovery of such documents or to permit inspection of such documents. The provisions of this Order shall apply mutatis mutandis as if the said order of the Court had been directed to a party to the said cause or matter provided always that the party seeking such order shall indemnify such person in respect of all costs thereby reasonably incurred by such person and such costs borne by the said party shall be deemed to be costs of that party for the purposes of Order 99.