09 Dec Examination for Discovery of Infants

In a previous blog we explained that an Examination for Discovery is a meeting where one party involved in the court case asks the opposing party questions about the issues in the dispute.   But what happens if one of the parties is under 19 years of age (an “infant”)?  Do they still have to attend at an Examination for Discovery?

This question was addressed in the case of Dann-Mills v. Tessier, 2015 BCSC 386.  In that case, the infant Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident when he was seventeen months old.  When he was 8 years old, a Defendant in the case tried to compel him to attend at an Examination for Discovery, to answer questions about his injuries.  The Defendant argued that the only reason an infant could be prevented from attending at an Examination for Discovery was if he or she was mentally incompetent.  The court rejected this argument.

The Court stated that the circumstances where the Examination for Discovery of an infant child may not be appropriate will be many and varied.  Factors to consider include the child’s age, ability to understand the truth, ability to express himself/herself, attention span, and the prospect of undue anxiety on the part of the child or potential harm to the child.  Rather than the norm, an Examination for Discovery of an infant is extraordinary.

The Judge decided that an examination of the infant Plaintiff in this case was inappropriate and he did not allow it to take place.