n South African Law Journal - Protecting parties from ambush : some recommendations on discovery in children's court litigation : notes

Volume 128, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



Pre-trial discovery for achieving the disclosure of evidence between parties is commonly utilised in civil litigation. Each party has the right to call on others to specify which relevant documents and other recorded evidence they possess and/or intend to use at the trial. In instances where the rules of procedure allow it, they may also be required to reveal such evidence for inspection and copying. Thus, the purpose of discovery is to permit 'each party knowledge of, and eventual access to' evidentiary material 'in possession of an opposing party that might be relevant to the trial' (S Peté, D Hulme, M du Plessis & O Sibanda (2011) 227 (hereafter 'Peté et al')). This avoids parties being taken by surprise, fosters transparency and co-operation, and eliminates disputes where evidence is unassailable ( 1949 (3) SA 1081 (SR) at 1083; Peté et al op cit at 227). It also saves expense and court time by avoiding adjournments and other delays, narrows the issues in dispute, and is conducive to matters being resolved on the merits and not as a result of tactical manoeuvrings (Law Reform Commission of Western Australia 'Disclosure' (Chapter 13) in (1999) available at , accessed on 25 April 2011).

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