Parties to a legal dispute are also bound to comply with disclosure requirements as soon as they enter legal proceedings. As such, it is crucial for parties to understand the sometimes-tedious ins and outs of their duty to disclose documents.
What is a rule 222 request?
A rule 222 request is made pursuant to Rule 222 of the Uniform Civil and Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) (‘UCPR’). The rule provides that a party may request another party to disclose, or produce for inspection, any document referred to in any pleadings, particulars or affidavits filed by the other party. Upon request, the other party must permit copies of such documents to be made.
When does a rule 222 request apply?
A rule 222 request requires a ‘direct allusion’ to a document. While this phrase is not defined in the UCPR, the cases have established that there must be a clear and unambiguous reference to a document and a mere inferred or implied reference to a document is insufficient.
As such, a ‘direct allusion’ refers to the situation where a document is specifically referred to in a pleading, particular or affidavit. For example, where an affidavit makes reference to a specific construction contract and makes it clear that the contract exists, rule 222 warrants the disclosure of that contract. This is determined by reading the affidavit in context and as a whole.
Alternatively, a ‘direct allusion’ does not refer to circumstances where it is impossible to identify a specific document referred to in a pleading, particular or affidavit. For example, an affidavit that does not mention a document but merely refers to the “instructions” received by the plaintiff is insufficient to warrant the document containing those “instructions” to be disclosed under rule 222.
There are certain circumstances where rule 222 does not apply even if a direct allusion to a document is made out. For example, the rule does not apply to:
- Override legal professional privilege;
- Documents mentioned in an exhibit of an affidavit;
- Documents not in possession the party whom production is sought.
Why are rule 222 requests important?
The underlying rationale behind the requirements under rule 222 is to ensure full and frank disclosure of all the documents relevant to the matters in issue between the parties. In effect, the rule creates an effective system of exchange of information.
This process yields many benefits to the parties in proceedings, including:
- Providing a quick and timely means of gaining access to a document.
- Ensuring that parties are fully informed of the case at trial.
- Ensuring that parties know the relevant strengths and weaknesses of their case and the other party’s case.
- Streamlining the process to minimise cost and inconvenience to the parties and associated persons.
How can I make a rule 222 request?
Rule 222 requires the party requesting the documents to provide written notice of their request to the other party. The UCPR does not provide a standard form for this type of request.
Accordingly, letter or email correspondence to the other party requesting certain documents is sufficient.
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