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What does the legal term "discovery" mean?

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Quick Answer

In the legal world, the term "discovery" is used to describe the formal process that a lawyer uses to obtain information from the opposing side before trial. Generally, discovery involves the opposing side answering interrogatory questions under oath.

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Full Answer

Discovery can involve questions and seeking information of any kind provided the information is not subject to discovery limits. For example, confidential conversations between a husband and wife or patient and doctor may be protected, and private matters, such as a person's religious beliefs or sexual orientation, may be protected too. The testimony of witnesses, information on a business' operational practices and documents related to the dispute at hand are all subject to discovery.

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