Article II. Prehearing Procedures


Rule 25: Discovery.

By local rule and according to whatever process, informal or otherwise, is appropriate for that court, each juvenile court shall ensure that the parties in delinquent and unruly proceedings in juvenile court have access to information which would be available in criminal court and that parties in other cases, including dependent, neglect and abuse cases, have access to information which would be available in the circuit court. A party to a civil action in termination of parental rights cases, paternity cases, guardianship and mental health commitment cases involving children, and child custody proceedings under T.C.A. §§ 36-6-101, et seq., 36-6-201, et seq., and 37-1-104(a)(2) and (f) may serve notice of or request for discovery on another party. The party on whom notice or request is served may seek a protective order with regard to the notice or request. Leave to obtain discovery shall be freely given when justice so requires. In no event shall local rules be inconsistent with these rules.

[Amended by order filed December 29, 2005, effective July 1, 2006.] I

Advisory Commission Comments.

While the committee intends that parties in juvenile court should not have to resort to de novo appeal or transfer to circuit court to gain access to information important for preparation for trial, the committee was concerned with potential burdens and delays that might be caused if existing criminal and civil discovery methods were applied without modification to juvenile court proceedings. This rule provides for the opportunity for discovery while leaving the formal and informal mechanisms for each juvenile court to develop as is appropriate to that locality. This does not preclude adoption by local court rule of all or some of the discovery mechanisms found in the Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure and the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure, but does not require it.

Advisory Commission Comment [2006].

The final three sentences are new. The amendment is intended to allow discovery in Juvenile Court on issues other than those in delinquency and unruly proceedings.

Advisory Commission Comment [2007].

The amendment clarifies that discovery is obtainable in dependency, neglect and abuse cases. The amendment also specifies the juvenile proceedings that are subject to the Rules of Civil Procedure where a party may serve notice of or request for discovery on another party.

Advisory Commission Comment [2008].

The amendment nullifies local rules contrary to Juvenile Rule 25 and emphasizes the mandate of Supreme Court Rule 18, which limits local rules to those "not inconsistent with . . . the Rules of Juvenile Procedure[.]"

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