ALRC to review Discovery in Federal Courts to Improve Access to Justice

On 10 May 2010, the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) received Terms of Reference from the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Hon Robert McClelland MP, for an Inquiry to look into discovery of documents in litigation in federal courts.The Terms of Reference ask the ALRC to focus on issues of:

  • the law, practice and management of the discovery of documents in litigation before federal courts;
  • ensuring that cost and time required for discovery of documents is proportionate to the matters in dispute, including but not limited to:
    • the effectiveness of different types of discovery orders 
    • the effectiveness and enforceability of requiring parties to identify and disclose critical documents as early as possible 
    • the effectiveness of different costs orders
  • to limit the overuse of discovery, reduce the expense of discovery and ensure key documents relevant to the real issues in dispute are identified as early as possible; 
  • the impact of technology on the discovery of documents.

Anyone with an interest in the Discovery Inquiry and the work of the ALRC is encouraged to subscribe to receive the Discovery inquiry newsletter through the ALRC website.

The ALRC is also launching the Discovery Blog to promote discussion around issues we are considering through the duration of the inquiry. The blog is open to all:

The final report and recommendations are due to be provided to the Attorney-General by no later than 31 March 2011.