Part 3 on…
THE GOLDEN RULES OF LITIGATION
3. OBEY THE TIME LIMITS FOR
Respond on time to the case management directions you receive from the judicial officer not forgetting that YOU can’t personally serve documents on the other parties, but have to get it done by someone independent of the matter. This means that if you’re pro se or representing yourself, you have to have all documents served on the other parties by someone (over 18 of course) not directly connected with the case eg a party, a witness, etc.
Also if you receive correspondence from your ex’s lawyers, requesting disclosure, get it sorted within the time limits in the Rules. Don’t forget that you don’t necessarily have to produce documents, just disclose their existence.
So you may have documents that you’ve given to a lawyer for advice or some specific work that are then “legally privileged”. You have to disclose the existence of the document, but not the contents. Of course, if you’ve already included it as an annexure to your affidavit, privilege is gone, but you can object as to why sighting the original is necessary.
If it smells like it’s a fishing expedition, or being done to “make work” for you and appears to be irrelevant to the dispute, you can object TO THE COURT — not to the ex’s lawyer. Don’t get into a flame war with the lawyer.
Because while you’re defending your case and brilliantly arguing your position in your best “My Cousin Vinnie” impersonation with the lawyer, clock’s ticking and YOU ARE THE ONE failing to comply with the time limits. So get it before the court before the time limit is up. By that I mean, lodge the application / submission / request for a directions hearing on the objection with the court before the time limit is up.
Getting your paperwork lodged on-time will greatly enhance your credibility with the court.
Otherwise, seek out community legal centres for advice (results may vary), and chamber magistrates for help filling out the forms and explaining the procedural requirements. Chamber Magistrates won’t tell you anything about whether the ex’s disclosure requests are legally right or wrong or what kind of objection you should use. Hopefully you get someone switched on at the community legal centre who can.