New Zealand Discovery Rules

New High Court discovery rules commenced in New Zealand on the 1st of February 2012.  The rules establish a framework to assist parties to reach agreement on discovery issues in a proportionate and cost effective manner.

The new discovery rules can be found here

The discovery rules place greater obligations on lawyers to narrow the scope of discovery and ensure the cost is proportionate. To achieve this, it is important to invest more time developing a discovery strategy at an early stage. It will be a significant strategic advantage to be more informed about the discovery approach in preparing for the first Case Management Conference.

The new rules introduce a new Discovery Checklist and the Listing and Exchange Protocol to assist parties conduct discovery.

Discovery Checklist

On all matters parties must address a new Discovery Checklist and then discuss the issues raised with the other parties to agree the scope and practical arrangements for conducting discovery.

The checklist provides a roadmap to assist parties to co-operate over how discovery will be conducted, to assess a proportionate and reasonable search for documents tailored to suit the requirements of each matter.

The Discovery Checklist identifies ways to reduce some of the listing and exchange costs –

“to reduce unnecessary costs of listing documents parties are encouraged to: 

a)     Use native electronic versions of documents as much as possible; and

b)     Use the extracted metadata from native electronic documents instead of manually listing documents; and

c)     Convert documents to image format only when it is decided they are to be produced for discovery; and

d)     If document images are to be numbered, only number those images if they are to be produced for discovery.”

The Discovery Checklist is available here.

Listing and Exchange Protocol

The Listing and Exchange Protocol provides a standard default format to list and exchange information. The protocol is considered by the parties when they address the Discovery Checklist.

There is flexibility to modify the protocol to suit the requirements of the matter.

The Listing and Exchange Protocol is available here.

Further Information

Dedicated commentary about the new discovery rules can be found here. The NZ E-Discovery Blog has many useful articles about how to approach discovery under the new rules.

We provide CPD Seminars for firms to familiarise themselves about the new discovery requirements.