What Is a Pretrial Conference in Edmonton?

What Is a Pretrial Conference in Edmonton?

A case on track for trial typically has a pre-trial conference before entering a courtroom. It may be called for by any of the parties involved in the case, or it may be ordered by the Court. In a pretrial conference, the parties gather together with a presiding Justice to clarify the matters of the case, and, where possible, attempt to resolve the issues before going to trial.

Whether your matter involves divorce, probate and estate matters, a personal injury, or another issue, our Edmonton civil litigation lawyers would be happy to discuss your particular circumstances and see how we may be of service to you. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

What is the Purpose of a Pretrial Conference?

Somewhat similar to mediation, a pretrial conference offers the parties involved in a legal dispute an opportunity to discuss, clarify, and possibly come to a voluntary resolution instead of going to court.

While they may be held in a conference room or a courtroom, pretrial conferences are not open to the public, and no witnesses are involved. A pretrial conference is limited to just the parties involved, their lawyers, and the presiding Justice.

Likewise, pretrial conferences are not recorded. Any discussions made towards a settlement may not later be raised at trial. In this way, a pretrial conference offers a structured space for parties to openly discuss the issues at hand.

For tailored insights, and to learn how our Edmonton civil litigation lawyers may be able to guide you through a pretrial conference in Alberta, contact us today and set up a consultation.

What Should I Prepare for a Pretrial Conference?

At least 14 days prior to a pretrial conference, all the parties involved are asked to exchange all their documentation related to the matter at hand. This may include written statements, documents, contracts, invoices, cheques, screenshots, receipts, photos, videos, transcripts of voice messages, and more. 

The nature of the given case will dictate the required records. In a family law case concerning a divorce, for instance, financial documents pertaining to shared assets (e.g. matrimonial home considerations) may be relevant. In a personal injury claim, records such as a medical report and photographic evidence from the accident scene might be crucial.

Part of the goal of a pretrial conference in Alberta is for each side and their counsel to gain a clearer understanding of the other side’s perspective, which may contribute to a road to resolution. 

What Happens At a Pretrial Conference?

At a pretrial conference, the parties and their lawyers discuss the matter at issue with the Justice. The Justice will typically ask a series of clarifying questions to better understand the facts and issues of the case. The Justice’s goal will be to attempt to steward a resolution between the parties.

There are the main possible outcomes of a pretrial conference in Alberta:

  1. The parties resolve the action. If the parties come to a mutually-agreed-upon resolution, they may sign a Settlement Agreement, or the Court may prepare an Order that confirms the settlement’s terms. No further appearances at Court would be required.
  2. The pretrial conference is converted into a Binding Judicial Dispute Resolution. An informal process geared towards an out-of-court settlement, this would be a discussion between the parties that may end with a binding resolution. No further appearances at Court would be required.
  3. The parties do not resolve the action at the pretrial conference. In this case, the action will be scheduled to go to trial. Depending on the circumstances, the Justice may provide the parties with direction as well as deadlines concerning preparations for trial.

Contact Our Edmonton Civil Litigation Lawyers Today for a Consultation

There are many moving pieces to a civil litigation case. Depending on the nature of your circumstances, personal adversities such as an injury or the highly emotional stakes of a divorce may add undue challenges to the process. At Verhaeghe Law, our Edmonton civil litigation lawyers are dedicated to helping you navigate the process as smoothly as possible. We are here to listen to your concerns, address your questions, and provide guidance to help you pursue the justice you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation. 

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of civil litigation, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta civil litigation lawyer.

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