One of the most crucial aspects of a personal injury lawyer's work is to gather all the information required to build a successful case. The difficulty of that task was shown by a case involving a professional rugby player who claimed to have been injured during a drinking game.
The player was on an overseas trip organised by his club when he alleged that the incident took place. He said that he was wearing a metal helmet when a colleague struck him on the head with a fire extinguisher. He claimed that the injuries he suffered ultimately led to the end of his professional playing career.
After he took action against the club, the colleague and a doctor who treated him following the incident, he obtained an order requiring the club to disclose a large number of documents, including all his medical and training records and details of his salary and playing contracts.
In challenging that order, the club questioned, amongst other things, the relevance of many of the documents sought. The disclosure directed went beyond that which had been formally applied for and, in some instances, there was no evidence that the documents were physically in the club's possession.
Ruling on the matter, the High Court acknowledged that a number of those criticisms were justified. In refusing permission to appeal, however, the Court noted that the judge who made the order had a wide discretion to direct disclosure of documents that might be relevant to the case. His ruling was within the range of decisions open to him and he had committed no error of principle.