Preparing a List of Documents

Last Reviewed: April 2022 Reviewed by: JES Download

Once you have decided which documents need to be disclosed, you must list the documents on Form 20. The list must then be served on all other parties within 35 days after the end of the pleading period (i.e., when the notice of family claim, response, counterclaim, and response to counterclaim are completed). See Rule 9-1(1). However, quite often the parties agree to extend this period, as assembling documents can take a long time. Further, your obligation to produce documents is ongoing. If you find a relevant document after you have prepared a list, you need to prepare an amended list that includes that document.

The Form 20 list of documents has three parts:


Part 1: Includes all documents that are or have been in your possession or control and that could be used by any party at trial to prove or disprove a material fact. For example:

1.1 15 September 2008, contract of purchase and sale of the family home at 101 Dalmatian Lane (Then check the box if the document is no longer in your possession or control.)

Part 2: Includes all other documents (if any) that you intend to refer to at trial. For example, these may be documents that you know exist but that were never in your possession or control.

Part 3: Some of your documents may be “privileged” and that means that the other party is not entitled to see them. For example, communications between a lawyer and his or her client are privileged. If you consulted with a lawyer about your case and received a letter from the lawyer that gave you some advice about the case, the letter would be a privileged document and you would not be required to give a copy of it to the other party.

Other privileged documents are those created for the main purpose of helping you prepare to take your case to court. For example, if you met with a mechanical engineer to get some advice about an aspect of your case and took notes of your meeting, you could claim that the notes were privileged.

You may want to talk with a lawyer about the law relating to privileged documents, as it might be difficult for you to determine which documents are privileged. You may harm your case if you provide copies of privileged documents to the other side. You must, however, disclose the existence of documents for which you claim there is a privilege, by listing them in part 3 of Form 20. If you have documents that you claim are privileged, you must describe the nature of the document and the basis for making a claim of privilege. For example:

3.1 16 March 2007, letter from a lawyer, Jane Green, advice on excluded property. (Then state the grounds on which you are claiming privilege, e.g., solicitor/client privilege.)

The nature of the privileged documents must be described in a way that, without revealing the privileged information, will enable the other parties to assess the validity of your claim for privilege.


If Your List of Documents is not Complete

If you later discover that your list is not accurate or complete, or come into possession of a document that should have been on your list, you must promptly serve an amended list on the other parties (see Rule 9-1(6)). And, if you think that certain documents should have been listed on the other party’s list of documents, you can make a demand, in writing, that they prepare and serve a supplementary list, and make those documents available for inspection (see Rule 9-1(8)). If the party fails to comply with the demand within 35, days, you can apply to court for an order that the party comply with the demand.

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