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What is a judicial pre-trial?
A judicial pre-trial is similar to a Crown pre-trial, except a judge helps:
- resolve the matter in a way you and the Crown agree with, or
- make the trial shorter by reducing the number and complexity of issues to be discussed
The judge may also say what they believe would be fair in your case if there was a trial. They do this based on the law and the circumstances of your case.
Asking for a judicial pre-trial
You must have a Crown pre-trial before a judicial pre-trial. After the Crown pre-trial, you or the Crown can ask for a judicial pre-trial.
If the Crown or your lawyer thinks your case will take a lot of time in court, you may be required to have a judicial pre-trial. This decision is based on the court procedure at the courthouse. You can also ask for a judicial pre-trial if you are missing disclosure, or want to encourage plea negotiations.
You can have a judicial pre-trial without a lawyer. If you don't have a lawyer, your judicial pre-trial will be held in the courtroom. Duty counsel may be able to help you.
If you have hired a lawyer, you will not go to the judicial pre-trial. It will happen without you in the judge's office or another room in the courthouse. The Crown, your lawyer, and a judge will be present.
After the judicial pre-trial
After the judicial pre-trial, you can:
- adjourn (or postpone) your case to a later date,
- set a date for your trial if the Crown is handling your case summarily,
- set a date for your trial if the Crown is handling your case as an indictable offence and you want to be tried by a judge in the Ontario Court of Justice,
- set a date for your preliminary inquiry if the Crown is handling your case as an indictable offence, and you want to be tried by a judge or jury in the Superior Court of Justice, or
- enter a guilty plea with the judge who was at your judicial pre-trial.
If you adjourn your case, you will have time to think about what to do next, such as whether to hire a lawyer.
If you don't have all of your disclosure, it may be a good idea to adjourn your case until the Crown gives it to you. It's a good idea to wait until you have complete disclosure before you make important decisions about your case.