Traditionally, except for the limited role played by pleadings and bills of particulars, the attorney in a law court did not disclose evidentiary matters until trial. "A judicial proceeding was a battle of wits rather than a search for the truth,"' and thus, each side was protected to a large extent against disclosure of his case until counsel chose to disclose it at trial. This philosophy changed some forty years ago with the introduction of discovery in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In the words of Mr. Justice Murphy, the discovery rules meant that "civil trials in the federal courts no longer need be carried on in the dark. The way is now clear, consistent with recognized privileges, for the parties to obtain the fullest possible knowledge of the issues and facts before trial." Or, as another observer saw it, "[m]odern instruments of discovery. . . together with pretrial procedures make a trial less a game of blind man's bluff and more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed to the fullest practicable extent."
63 Minn. L. Rev. 253
Scholarly Commons Citation
Cohn, Sherman L., "Federal Discovery: A Survey of Local Rules and Practices in View of Proposed Changes to the Federal Rules" (1979). Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. Paper 1598.