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“To begin preparing for trial, both sides engage in discovery. This is the formal process of exchanging information between the parties about the witnesses and evidence they’ll present at trial.

Discovery enables the parties to know before the trial begins what evidence may be presented. It’s designed to prevent “trial by ambush,” where one side doesn’t learn of the other side’s evidence or witnesses until the trial, when there’s no time to obtain answering evidence.”  —American Bar Association

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts adopted the Rules of Civil Procedure in 1973 (effective 1974) patterned on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  The rules were designed to facilitate pleading, and to clearly delineate the issues prior to the trial, thereby avoiding trial by ambush.

To learn more about Discovery, see the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries’ webpage, “Law about Discovery“.

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