In the U.S., rules of evidence are intended to ensure that the parties to a case and the decision maker (judge or jury) will only rely on relevant, reliable evidence. Furthermore, the rules ensure that proposed evidence is presented to the court in a way that gives the court a fair opportunity to evaluate its reliability and credibility. Predicable rules of evidence contribute to transparency, build trust in the judicial system, address abuses of power that lead to illegal evidence, and enhance fairness and perceived fairness in litigation. Discovery embodies a philosophy that the parties should be entitled to know what the other side's evidence will be prior to trial; that trial by surprise is disfavored; and that a party should not be able to withhold evidence favorable to the other side if the other side is entitled to that evidence. The discovery process in the U.S. (if properly managed by the court) results in a more informed and fact-based system of dispute resolution, fewer errors or miscarriages of justice, a more efficient use of judicial resources, and facilitation of alternative dispute resolution.
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