Substantial changes to the Rules of Civil Procedure come into effect January 1, 2010. This is part 4 of our review of the amendments.
A new rule has been introduced which limits the time for discovery to seven hours total, regardless of the number of parties to be examined. Parties may extend the time for discovery by consent, or if there is a dispute, a court may grant leave on a motion. There are both positives and negatives to this new rule. It may encourage counsel to be prepared for discovery and succinct in their questioning, and in many cases it is possible to complete discovery in only one day. There are some cases, however, where due to the number of parties or documents, or the complexity of the case it is not possible to complete discovery in only one day. The hope is that counsel will cooperate in such situations. Unfortunately there may be an increase in motions where disputes arise over this issue. I would not expect judges to look favourably upon having to adjudicate such procedural disputes and it may be that after a few initial decisions, counsel take a more practical approach.
Our previous post discussed r. 29.1, which requires parties to agree on a discovery plan. Where the length of discovery is likely to be an issue, it is a good idea to deal with this issue at that point to avoid later disagreements.