Lawyer’s notes of opposing party’s statements to be produced

On October 30th the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a decision that illustrates the burden on a party who claims that notes taken of an opposing party’s statements are subject to litigation privilege.

The Court rejected a litigation privilege claim because it was impossible to discern from a review of the notes alone that they contained solicitor’s work product – i.e., confidential comments, remarks and notes personal to the transcriber and made for the dominant purpose of preparing for litigation. Although the notes contained some annotations and underlining, the Court held that it was not self evident these markings were work product. It also held that counsel’s submission that certain text in the notes represented an evaluation of the opposing party’s value as a witness was not sufficiently persuasive to justify a withholding of otherwise producible information.

Hart v (Canada) Attorney General, 2012 ONSC 6067 (CanLII).

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