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Court conferences

Ontario
ontario specific
legal information

Much of your case will take place in a series of conferences. The goal of a conference is to assist the parties in settling their case. A judge has the authority to combine or skip conferences. There are three types of conferences:

Case conference

Purposes:

  • To explore the chances of settling the case
  • To identify the issues that are in dispute and those that are not in dispute
  • To explore ways to resolve the issues that are in dispute
  • To ensure disclosure of the relevant evidence
  • To note admissions that may simplify the case
  • To set the date for the next step in the case
  • To have the parties agree, if possible, to a specific timetable for the steps to be taken in the case before it comes to trial
  • To organize a settlement conference or hold one, if appropriate
  • To allow the judge to provide deadlines for exchange of court documents or other important matters if either party wants to bring a motion.

Settlement conference

Purposes:

  • To explore the chances of settling the case
  • To settle or narrow the issues in dispute
  • To ensure disclosure of the relevant evidence
  • To note admissions that may simplify the case
  • To obtain a view of how the court might decide the case, if possible
  • To consider any other matter that may help in a quick and just conclusion of the case
  • To identify the witnesses and other evidence to be presented at trial, estimate the time needed for trial and schedule the case for trial, if the case has not been settled
  • To organize a trial management conference or hold one, if appropriate.

Trial management conference

Purposes:

  • To explore the chances of settling the case
  • To arrange to receive evidence by a written report, an agreed statement of facts, an affidavit or another method, if appropriate
  • To decide how the trial will proceed
  • To ensure that the parties know what witnesses will testify and what other evidence will be presented at trial
  • To estimate the time needed for trial
  • To set the trial date, if this has not already been done.

More information about each conference is set out in the Family Law Rules, the regulations that govern family court in Ontario.

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