Changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure - Part 2

Substantial changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure come into effect January 1, 2010. This is part 2 of our review of the amendments.

In our last post we discussed the introduction of the discovery plan. In addition to aiming to increase efficiency in the discovery process, the new rules emphasize proportionality. Rule 29.2 is a new rule which introduces proportionality into discovery. In making production orders, a court will analyze a number of factors, such as whether answering a question or producing a document would:

1) require an unreasonable amount of time;
2) create an unjustified expense;
3) would cause undue prejudice;
4) would unduly interfere with the orderly progress of an action;
5) result in an excessive volume of documents; and
6) whether the document is available from another source.

These criteria could be problematic. It seems to me that these factors create room to argue that relevant documents need not be produced; for example, does this allow a plaintiff with a lengthy pre-accident history to argue the records do not have to be produced because there is an “excessive” amount of them? There will be disputes and hopefully judges will apply a common sense application to r. 29.2.

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