Judicial pretrials are similar to Crown resolution meetings, the difference being that they are held before a judge in the judge’s Chambers or in another room in the courthouse. If you do not have a lawyer, the judicial pretrial will be held in the courtroom. Judicial pretrials are meant for:
Note that the judge will not be the trial judge. After the judicial pretrials, the judge will issue trial management directions and orders to proceed more efficiently.
Judicial pretrials assist the court to decide how to proceed with the trial, and to shorten the trial by reducing the complexity and number of issues to be discussed. You could also apply for a judicial pretrial to force or encourage plea negotiations, or if there is disclosure you are missing. The issues addressed by judicial pretrials are:
It is required that the parties attending the judicial pretrial have authority to make final decisions on such matters as disclosure, the number of witnesses each party intends to bring, Charter and other applications to be brought at trial, admissions, anticipated legal issues, and resolution of the matter.
The judicial pretrial comes after the Crown pretrial. Once the Crown pretrial is over, the accused or the Crown can ask for the judicial pretrial.
Before scheduling a judicial pretrial, it is expected that both parties will have met to discuss the case. Judicial pretrials are scheduled for full days and a minimum of 20 minutes, depending on the type of case.
Judicial pretrials are held between the accused (or his/her lawyer), the Crown, and the judge. The setting can be intimidating if you do not have legal experience. In most cases, you will require the duty counsel to assist you if you do not have a lawyer because of the complexity involved.
The judicial pretrial is a very important step in the trial since it lays the foundation for the trial. If not handled by an expert, there are such risks as the case being hurried in such a way that you will not be able to properly defend yourself.
Possible outcomes of a judicial pretrial are the adjournment of the case to a later date, setting a date for the trial, setting a date for a preliminary inquiry, or entering a guilty plea. It is difficult for an untrained person to make an informed decision. At the Costa Law Firm, we will weigh the merits and the demerits of your case after the pretrial process, the preliminary inquiry, and other court processes, and advise you on the best course of action.
For more information on judicial pretrials, feel free to call us on 416-535-6329.