At Inlet Law, we often receive questions regarding the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench document disclosure (or record disclosure) process. Clients worry about what needs to be disclosed, what happens to their confidential records, and how the documents and information they share will be used.
Pursuant to the Rules of Court, document/record disclosure is one of the first procedural steps that takes places after parties file their claim or defence. Within three months of filing and serving their statement of claim, a plaintiff must prepare an “affidavit of records” containing all documents in their possession or control that could be used by any party of record to prove or disprove a material fact. The material facts to be proven in an employment matter usually involve the formation of the contract, the nature of the employment, the events surrounding the contract termination, and the client’s mitigation efforts.
To prove or disprove the above-noted facts, an affidavit of records often includes some or all of the following:
- Employment contracts;
- Amending agreements;
- Workplace ‘Policy & Procedure’ Manuals;
- Emails, texts, and other relevant communication logs;
- Disciplinary letters;
- Documentation regarding a leave of absence;
- Layoff Notices;
- Termination letters;
- Settlement offers and releases;
- Record of Employment;
- Tax returns; and
- Job applications, resumes, and communication with potential employers.
Though this is a long list, it is not exhaustive. What records you must produce depends entirely on the facts of your matter. This is why it is important to keep lawful records of all documents relating to the formation and termination of your employment.
Once the records are listed in the affidavit, the next step is to commission your affidavit of records before a commissioner of oaths (for example, a lawyer) then send the commissioned affidavit of records and the listed records to the opposing party. You do not need to file the affidavit of records with the court during this initial stage, as it only needs to be filed when it is needed for the purpose of an application or at trial.
Parties who receive records through this process must keep the records confidential, and cannot use them for any purpose outside of litigation, unless the owner of the records consents, or the court allows another use.
After a defendant receives a plaintiff’s affidavit of records, the defendant has two months to provide their affidavit of records.
It’s important to note that document/record production is an ongoing obligation.
Frequently, parties will continuously exchange records until the weeks leading up to trial.
Note: This article does not contain legal advice. If you would like advice on discovery or your legal matter, please contact Inlet Law at 604 39-INLET (604 394-6538) or at firstname.lastname@example.org.