Purpose of this questionnaire

5 The ALRC seeks to gauge practitioners’ impressions—based on practical experience—of the degrees to which discovery costs weigh against the overall expenses of litigation, the complexity of the issues in dispute, the stakes in the litigation and the value of the documents sought in the context of the litigation. The ALRC encourages responses to this questionnaire to provide particular examples or illustrations of cases which demonstrate the cost and value of discovery in litigation.

6 This questionnaire is not intended to be an empirical method of data collection. Responses it this questionnaire may serve as exploratory or qualitative research, rather than quantitative or empirical research. Therefore, the ALRC is not primarily concerned with the exact amount spent on discovery in particular proceedings. Similarly, the ALRC is not principally focused on the causes or components of discovery costs in particular cases. Rather, the ALRC seeks to contextualise discovery costs in terms of the nature of the proceedings in which documents are sought and the value of the documents in the context of the litigation. To this end, answers to the questions below should be based on practitioners’ general impressions of the discovery process gained through practical experience.

7 The ALRC requests assistance to obtain this information in exploring the concerns driving this Inquiry and underlying the Terms of Reference—that discovery costs often exceed the value of the documents obtained, in terms of their use in the just and efficient disposal of the litigation—and generally to inform the broad direction of any reforms recommended in the ALRC’s final report.

8 Unless participants request otherwise, the themes and impressions reflected in responses to this questionnaire may be referred to in discussion of the issues canvassed in the final report in this Inquiry. Participants may request that the ALRC keep responses to this questionnaire confidential. Alternatively, where a response to a question below includes a description of a particular proceeding, by way of an example or illustration, participants may choose to provide this information on a de-identified basis—with respect to the identities of the parties, practitioners and judicial officers involved. If a particular case is de-identified in a response to this questionnaire, the ALRC asks that responses give an indication of whether the parties were individuals, corporations or government agencies, and for which party you were acting.

9 In order to ensure consideration for use in the final report, responses to this questionnaire must reach the ALRC by Wednesday 19 January 2011. Stakeholders who are using the online form to make a submission to this Inquiry may provide their responses to this questionnaire there, as it is included at the end of the online submission form. Alternatively, responses to this questionnaire may be emailed.