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interrogatories

n. a set of written questions to a party to a lawsuit asked by the opposing party as part of the pre-trial discovery process. These questions 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 a source of information. 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 also: deposition  discovery 

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