Trial Management Conferences in Ontario

Trial management conferences in Ontario are very similar to settlement conferences, and in some circumstances can be held together. A trial management conference is held by a case management judge, a trial judge, or a judge who has never seen the case before.

The purposes of a trial management conference are described in Rule 17(6) of the Family Law Rules (O. Reg. 114/99):

(a) exploring the chances of settling the case;
(b) arranging to receive evidence by a written report, an agreed statement of facts, an affidavit or another method, if appropriate;
(c) deciding how the trial will proceed;
(c.1) exploring the use of expert evidence or reports at trial, including the timing requirements for service and filing of experts’ reports;
(d) ensuring that the parties know what witnesses will testify and what other evidence will be presented at trial;
(e) estimating the time needed for trial; and
(f) setting the trial date, if this has not already been done.

The filing requirements for trial management conferences are similar to settlement conferences, except the parties must file a Form 17E. This form outlines the issues which have and have not been settled by the parties, the names of witnesses and how much time required for them to testify, and a check list of procedural matters required before going to trial.

Although settlement conference briefs are not part of the continuing record, trial management conference briefs do not have the same confidentiality and are not destroyed after the conference.