Work Product Rule (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
A legal doctrine that provides that certain materials prepared by an attorney who is acting on behalf of his or her client during preparation for litigation are privileged from discovery by the attorney for the opposition party.
Under rules of civil and CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, as well as some statutes, parties to a civil lawsuit or a criminal prosecution must provide each other with information about the pending litigation. If a party will not disclose information during the discovery process, a court may issue an order compelling the production of evidence.
The work product rule is an exception to the concept of sharing information. This rule is based on the attorney-client relationship, which includes maintaining the confidentiality of information given by the client. The general rule is that legal research, records, correspondence, reports, or memoranda are attorney work product to the extent that they contain the opinions, theories, strategies, mental impressions, or conclusions of the client, the attorney, or persons participating in the case with the attorney, such as a jury consultant.
The U.S. Supreme Court, in Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, 67 S. Ct. 385, 91 L. Ed. 451 (1947), upheld the legitimacy of the work product rule contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Since the Hickman decision, there have been numerous cases...
(The entire section is 441 words.)
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