What to expect at a Judicial Pre-trial Meeting

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.

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