In an effort to streamline the discovery process in arbitrations, in 1999 the NASD has released, with the approval of the SEC, a Discovery Guide, detailing the types of documents and information that it expects customers and brokerage firms to exchange with each other in NASD arbitrations. The Guide since been updated and incorporated into the FINRA arbitration procedures, and applies to all customer arbitrations.
FINRA intends for the Discovery Guide, which includes Document Production Lists, to provide guidance to parties on which documents they should exchange without arbitrator or staff intervention, and to arbitrators in determining which documents customers and member firms or associated persons are preemptively required to produce in customer arbitrations.
While the Guide is an excellent starting point for the exchange of documents in the discovery phase of a customer arbitration, its lists are of documents that are presumptively discoverable, but not mandatory, and its application is always subject to arbitrator intervention.
The Guide, and its introductory material, is available at the FINRA web site, in PDF format.
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