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. A meeting before a judge is called a judicial pre-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.
Judicial pre-trials make the trial shorter by reducing the number and complexity of issues to be discussed at trial.
Who attends a Judicial Pre-Trial?
Most often only the Crown and your lawyer will attend the pre-trial. An accused will only attend a judicial pre-trial if they are unrepresented.
What are the Criteria for Judicial Pre-Trial?
Following the Crown pre-trial, an accused can request a judicial pre-trial. 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:
· Any case estimated to require 1 day or 4 or more hours;
· Any case where the accused intends to be unrepresented or represented by a non-licensed agent
· Any case within a category of judicial pre-trial cases determined by the Regional Senior Judge of the court
· Any other case directed by the Regional Senior Judge
What is 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?
A judge will assist in resolving the matters in a way all parties can agree with and make any recommendations. A judge will:
· 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.
Judicial pre-trials are an important step in the criminal process. 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.