Which court should I choose for my trial?

3. Fill out a Notice of Election form

You must fill out a Notice of Election form that says whether you want your at the:

  • with a judge,
  • with a judge, or
  • Superior Court of Justice with a judge and a jury.

If you’re asking for a preliminary inquiry, you must also file a Statement of Issues that lists:

  • the Crown witnesses you want to hear from, and
  • the issues you want to hear about.

Both of these forms are available at the courthouse. You or your lawyer must file your notice with the court clerk. Once the court receives your forms, your decision is recorded.

Confirm your decision “on the record”

You also have to confirm your choice of court and request for a verbally in court. This is called putting your ”.

In most cases, when you’re ready to choose dates for your preliminary inquiry or trial, you give the court your Notice of Election form and the court will ask you “how do you elect?”

You must tell the court if you want:

  • a trial at the Ontario Court of Justice
  • a trial at the Superior Court of Justice
  • a preliminary inquiry followed by a trial at the Superior Court of Justice

If you don’t answer, you will be given a trial at the Superior Court of Justice with a judge and jury. And if you or the Crown don’t ask for a , you will not have one and your case will go straight to trial.

If you have a lawyer, your lawyer will file your forms and say your election in court for you.

Change your mind  

If you change your mind about the court you chose, you may be able to fill out a new Notice of Election form. This is called re-electing.

If you chose to have your trial at the Ontario Court of Justice and you change your mind, you can make a re-election as long as there are more than 60 days before your trial starts.

If you chose to have your trial at the Superior Court of Justice, you can make a re-election about who decides your case up to 60 days after your preliminary inquiry ends. If you didn’t ask for a preliminary inquiry, you can make a re-election as long as there are more than 60 days before your trial starts.

If you chose to have a preliminary inquiry followed by a trial at the Superior Court of Justice, you can make a re-election to have a trial at the Ontario Court of Justice only if the Crown agrees.

In all situations, if there are less than 60 days before your trial, the Crown must agree to the re-election.  

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