Evidence Gathering in Legal Cases
Factual evidence, which may take the form of written documents, aural recordings and/or independent witnesses is crucial to any litigation process, particularly where a case may end up in court.
The individual parties (plaintiffs and defendants) are each responsible for gathering evidence. As soon as litigation is contemplated, the parties' legal representatives must notify their clients of the need to preserve disclosable documents (Civil Procedure Rules) (CPR).
Once an obligation to disclose has arisen, the party has an obligation to disclose all relevant documents (apart from those protected by legal privilege) and this is a continuing obligation.
The court has flexibility to reduce the scope of disclosure generally in furtherance of the 'overriding objective' of dealing with cases justly and at proportionate cost (CPR 31.5). Ultimately, the court can make any order for disclosure that it considers appropriate.
In a criminal case, the police arrest and question suspects and witnesses. They gather evidence and take witness statements.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the independent public authority responsible for prosecuting people in England and Wales who have been charged by the police with a criminal offence. The CPS decide IF, there is enough evidence to go to court.