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Queen's Bench Pre-Trial Conferences

If your case is going to trial there will first be a pre-trial conference. Once the Statement of Claim and the Statement of Defence have been served and filed the parties can ask to have the case set down for a pre-trial conference.

You must attend the pre-trial conference.

If the parties agree they file a joint request using Form 4-11 of the Queen’s Bench Forms. The parties must agree that they are ready for trial, that they have made efforts to settle and that they attended the mandatory mediation. The parties must estimate how much time is needed for pre-trial and trial. Each party must also estimate how many witnesses they will call at trial.

If the other party will not sign a joint request you wait 20 days after they refused. If after this time they still have not signed the joint request or explained why they will not sign it you can ask the Local Registrar to set a date. You must certify that you are ready for pre-trial and trial, confirm that offers of settlement have been made, estimate the time needed for pre-trial and trial and the number of witnesses that will be called at trial.

The goals of a pre-trial conference are:

  • to allow the parties to participate in the problem-solving process
  • to allow settlement options to be presented which would not necessarily be available at trial
  • to allow the parties to receive the benefit of a trial judge’s views on issues that remain unresolved
  • where no settlement is reached, to have discussions between the parties to narrow the issues that need to be decided at trial and arrive at all reasonable agreements that will minimize time at trial
  • to take any other steps which will improve the efficiency of the trial and save time and costs for parties and witnesses

The pre-trial is conducted by a judge who will not be the judge at the trial. What is said at the pre-trial conference is privileged, meaning that things that are said can’t be brought up at trial. At pre-trial the judge cannot make any orders. Typically the judge will ask each party or their lawyer to summarize the issues and their position on these issues. The judge may speak to each side separately and state their view of the issues and the likely outcome if the case was to go to trial.

Pre-Trial Brief

At least ten days before the pre-trial conference both parties must file a pre-trial brief and give a copy of it to the other party. The pre-trial brief must:

  • state clearly on the first page the name of the party filing the brief
  • include a brief summary of evidence that will be presented
  • include a brief statement of the issues in dispute and the law relating to those issues as well as anything, such as case law, that supports the party’s case
  • include all documents that are intended to be used at the trial, including medical and expert reports.

The pre-trial brief can also include a proposal to settle the issues.

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