5.1 The Terms of Reference direct the ALRC, in conducting its inquiry, to have regard to alternatives to discovery.[1] The ALRC is also to consider issues to limit the overuse of discovery, and ensure key documents relevant to the real issues in dispute are defined as early as possible. This chapter considers pre-action protocols, pre-trial oral examinations and other processes that encourage early settlement, document exchange and the narrowing of the issues in dispute between parties prior to the commencement of proceedings. The chapter draws upon recent works by other law reform bodies, as well as practices and procedures in overseas jurisdictions.

[1] See the Terms of Reference at the front of this Consultation Paper.