What to expect at a Judicial Pre-trial Meeting
Before a person goes to trial, there may be meetings between the Crown and the accused (or his/her counsel) and between counsel and a judge. Two parties will meet with a judge to discuss their case before the trial.
What is the Purpose of a Judicial Pre-Trial?
The purpose of a judicial pre-trial is to promote a fair and expeditious hearing. This meeting serves to narrow the issues to be raised at trial, to establish a suitable schedule (number and schedule of pre-trial motions, etc.), and decide similar matters. A pre-trial meeting with Crown counsel should occur prior to a judicial pre-trial with a judge.
Who attends a Judicial Pre-Trial?
Most often only the Crown and your lawyer will attend the pre-trial. If someone is unrepresented, they will not go to a judicial pre-trial.
What are the Criteria for Judicial Pre-Trial?
Following the Crown pre-trial, an accused can request a judicial pre-trial. For Instance, an accused may request a judicial pre-trial if they are missing disclosure (information police and Crown have about their case) or wish to encourage plea negotiations with the Crown.
Judicial pre-trials are encouraged, and the following cases should be scheduled for a judicial pre-trial:
- Firstly, cases estimated to require 1 day or 4 or more hours;
- Where the accused intends to be unrepresented or represented by a non-licensed agent
- Within a category of judicial pre-trial cases determined by the Regional Senior Judge of the court
- Finally, any other case directed by the Regional Senior Judge
Discussed at a Judicial Pre-Trial
Parties discuss and can decide on the following matters:
- Disclosure (information police and Crown have about the case)
- Applications, including Charter applications, that the parties will bring at trial;
- The number of witnesses each party intends to call at the preliminary inquiry or at trial;
- Any admissions the parties are willing to make;
- Any legal issues that the parties anticipate may arise in the proceeding;
- An estimate of the time needed to complete the proceeding; and
- Resolution of the matter, if appropriate.
What is the Role of the Judge?
Not only a judge will assist in resolving the matters in a way all parties can agree with and make any recommendations. A judge will also:
- Manage the meeting
- Actively listen
- Provide the parties with clear guidance on the strengths and weaknesses of each case
- Create a record of decisions made during pre-trial
What happens after a Judicial Pre-Trial?
Following a judicial pre-trial, parties can adjourn (postpone case), set a date for trial, set a date for a preliminary inquiry (if applicable) or enter a guilty plea with the judge from the judicial pre-trial.
Following a judicial pre-trial, a judge will:
- Schedule a confirmation hearing,
- A second judicial pre-trial (if necessary), or
- Require the parties to file a certificate of readiness.
If your case proceeds to a preliminary inquiry and/or trial, the judge involved in your judicial pre-trial will not preside over the continuing proceedings.
Moreover, judicial pre-trials are an important step in the criminal process. In addition, Judicial pre-trials give you the opportunity to negotiate the best resolution for your case. If you are facing criminal charges, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced criminal lawyers are here to provide you with legal advice and represent you in a judicial pre-trial.
You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here to discuss your situation in more detail.