What Is An Interrogatory In Law?

What Is An Interrogatory In Law
In the practice of law, interrogatories are the most commonly method used in discovery, or in the effort to obtain information from an opposing party to a lawsuit. Interrogatories are written questions posed to the opposing party, for which a response is required, under conditions specified by the jurisdiction ‘s rules of court procedure.
In a civil action, an interrogatory is a list of questions one party sends to another as part of the discovery process. The recipient must answer the questions under oath and according to the case’s schedule. Because attorneys may help their clients answer interrogatories, interrogatory responses tend to be more finely crafted than answers to deposition questions.

  1. The number of questions included in an interrogatory is usually limited by court rule.
  2. For example, under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, each party may only ask each other party 25 questions via interrogatory unless the court gives permission to ask more.
  3. See Rule 33,
  4. Interrogatory rules vary by jurisdiction.

See State Civil Procedure Rules, In the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 33 governs interrogatories. See Civil Procedure,

What are interrogatories and how are they used?

What are interrogatories and how are they used? Interrogatories are a discovery tool that the parties can use to have specific questions about a case answered before trial. Interrogatories are lists of questions sent to the other party that s/he must respond to in writing.

You can use interrogatories to find out facts about a case but they cannot be used for questions that draw a legal conclusion. For example, in a case about a car accident, you could ask, “Was the vehicle in the crash registered in your name?” but you could not ask, “Were you at fault for the accident?” In a custody case, you could ask, “How many doctors’ appointments have you attended?” but you could not ask, “Is it in the child’s best interests to live with me?” You may receive interrogatories with questions that call for legal conclusions or that you believe are irrelevant.

You can read about how to properly respond in : What are interrogatories and how are they used?

What does interrogation mean in law?

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.n. questioning of a suspect or witness by law enforcement authorities. Once a person being questioned is arrested (is a ‘prime’ suspect) he/she is entitled to be informed of his/her legal rights, and in no case may the interrogation violate rules of due process.

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Can you serve interrogatories to the opposing party?

Disadvantages of Written Discovery – We’ve shared some of the valuable purposes of interrogatories, but there are some disadvantages — especially if you are representing yourself in the case.

  1. Written discovery often leads to discovery disputes — especially if your opponent hires a lawyer or simply doesn’t want to answer your questions. If you’re not armed with the legal knowledge to resolve disputes, you may never get adequate responses by your opponent.
  2. Interrogatories must follow a specific format — there are limits on the types of questions you can ask and the number of interrogatories you can serve to the opposing party. If you’re representing yourself, you’ll need to do some research to make sure your questions are within the bounds of the law — and get to the heart of the facts you need to prove your claims or defenses.
  3. If you are representing yourself, the opposing attorney may take advantage of your lack of discovery know-how to drag the discovery process out as long as possible — which might slow your progress and require you to spend additional time and effort countering your opponent’s stalling tactics.
  4. You may get more substantial responses to your questions, as well as insights into the testimony of the witnesses (and their credibility) by conducting an oral deposition rather than written discovery. Learn more about depositions.

Although written interrogatories do have some drawbacks, they can still provide crucial information, including key facts, positions, and identification of witnesses and documents. Just do some research to learn everything you can about the discovery process first.

What is an interrogatory in a deposition?

interrogatories Also found in:,,,,, Written questions submitted to a party from his or her adversary to ascertain answers that are prepared in writing and signed under oath and that have relevance to the issues in a lawsuit. Interrogatories are a discovery device used by a party, usually a defendant, to enable the individual to learn the facts that are the basis for, or support, a with which he or she has been served by the opposing party.

  • They are used primarily to determine what issues are present in a case and how to frame a responsive pleading or a deposition.
  • Only parties to an action must respond to interrogatories, unlike depositions that question both parties and witnesses.
  • Interrogatories are used to obtain relevant information that a party has regarding a case, but they cannot be used to elicit privileged communications,
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The question must be stated precisely to evoke an answer relevant to the litigated issues. A party can seek information that is within the personal knowledge of the other or that might necessitate a review of his or her records in order to answer. The federal rules of and the rules governing state court proceedings provide that when interrogatories seek disclosure of information contained in corporate records, the party upon whom the request is served can designate the records that contain the answers, thereby making the requesting party find the answer for himself or herself.

  1. No party can be compelled to answer interrogatories that involve matters beyond the party’s control.
  2. Objections to questions submitted can be raised and a party need not answer them until a court determines their validity.
  3. Interrogatories are one of the most commonly used methods of discovery.
  4. They can be employed at any time and there is no limit on the number that can be served.

Although they are not generally used for purposes of evidence in a trial, they might be admissible if they satisfy the rules of evidence, such as the best evidence rule or are an exception to the rule. West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc.

  • All rights reserved.n.
  • As part of the pre-trial discovery process, either party to a lawsuit may send a set of written questions to the other party.
  • These questions (interrogatories) must be answered in writing under oath or under penalty of perjury within a specified time (such as 30 days).
  • Several states ask basic “form” interrogatories on a printed form, with an allowance for “supplemental” interrogatories specifically relevant to the lawsuit.

Normal practice is for the lawyers to prepare the questions and for the answering party to have help from his/her/its attorney in understanding the meaning (sometimes hidden) of the questions and to avoid wording in his/her answers which could be interpreted against the party answering.

Objections as to relevancy or clarity may be raised either at the time the interrogatories are answered or when they are used in trial. Most states limit the number of interrogatories that may be asked without the court’s permission to keep the questions from being a means of oppression rather than just a source of information.

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While useful in getting basic information, they are much easier to ask than answer and are often intentionally burdensome. In addition the parties may request depositions (pre-trial questioning in front of a court reporter) or send “requests for admissions” which must be answered in writing.

See:, ) Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved. questions put to a person. The most usually encountered sense is of questions put in writing to a litigant or witness to be answered on oath. The purpose is to limit the scope of the inquiry. Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J.

Stewart, 2006 INTERROGATORIES. Material and pertinent questions, in writing, to necessary points, not confessed, exhibited for the examination of witnesses or persons who are to give testimony in the cause.2. They are either original and direct on the part, of him who produces the witnesses, or cross and counter, on behalf of the adverse party, to examine witnesses produced on the other side.

  1. Either party, plaintiff or defendant, may exhibit original or cross interrogatories.3.
  2. The form which interrogatories assume, is as various as the minds of the persons who propound them.
  3. They should be as distinct as possible, and capable of a definite answer; and they should leave no loop-holes for evasion to an unwilling witness.

Care must be observed to put no leading questions in original interrogatories, for these always lead to inconvenience; and for scandal or impertinence, interrogatories will, under certain Circumstances, be suppressed. Vide Will. on Interrogatories, passim; Gresl.

Ea. Ev pt.1, c.3, s.1; Vin. Ab.h.t.; Hind’s Pr.317; 4 Bouv. Inst.n.4419, et seq. A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856. Want to thank TFD for its existence?, add a link to this page, or visit, Link to this page: interrogatories Editor’s Note: An extraordinary number of cases are disposed of by the courts as a result of failure to comply with court orders to answer interrogatories, failure to comply with orders for more responsive answers to interrogatories, as well as a broad panorama of other failures to comply with court orders.

Her interrogatories application is expected to be the last opportunity to gain further evidence ahead of a full judicial review hearing into the appointments this year. : interrogatories