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Setting a Trial Date in the Ontario Court of Justice

Don't be afraid to have a trial. Your son or daughter may have nothing to lose and lots to gain by simply saying "not guilty" and then having a trial. Speak to a lawyer about it first.

Once the Assistant Crown Attorney and your defence lawyer have agreed upon an estimated length of trial or a Youth Court Judge has conducted a Judicial Pre-Trial and determined trial length the following needs to be accomplished at a busy courthouse like Brampton:


  1. Your lawyer checks with you to find out what family vacation or work dates are impossible for you.

  2. You report to the defence lawyer any impossible dates for your witnesses.

  3. You wait outside the courtroom for your lawyer to come back. Don't leave the courtroom entrance area.

  4. Your lawyer checks with any expert witness to obtain his or her available dates. 

  5. The defence lawyer finds out from the Court Officer about the officers the Crown is requiring for trial.

  6. The defence lawyer attends at the Peel Regional Police satellite office to obtain officer leave dates.

  7. The Crown and the defence lawyer (sometimes the defence lawyer alone) attend at the Trial Co-ordinator's office to check the availability of a Judge to hear the trial. It will need to be a Judge other than the Judicial Pre-Trial Judge, if any.

  8. The Trial Co-ordinator suggests the first available date. The Crown and defence lawyers say yes they and their witnesses are available or no they are not.

  9. The Trial co-ordinator records every date offere and notes who has refused or said they and their witnesses are available.

  10. The Crown and the defence each want to be perceived as flexible and ready to go to trial on the first reasonable date offered and each want the other to be responsible for a date turned down.

  11. The process continues until the correct number of dates is selected.

  12.  A confirmation date about 6 weeks prior to trial is often selected  to require that parties attend to confirm readiness for trial and service/filing of motions and Applications.

  13. All parties return to the courtroom to ask the Judge to fix the date(s) based on the memo from the Trial Co-ordinator.

  14. The defence or Crown may make comments on the Record to complain about the availability of the opposite party or to complain about the lack of early dates.


Ther purpose of this process is to ensure that the right of an accused to trial within a reasonable time is protected. It is very important to your ultimate defence that you be perceived as wanting a trial AS SOON AS REASONABLY POSSIBLE. Please do not ever make any comments to the Court begging for a date as far down the road as possible.


Usually trial dates are set for about 7 months after  the set date. If new judges have recently been appointed or there is a special delay reduction project, much earlier dates may be offered.


Excerpt from Charter of Rights:


Proceedings in criminal and penal matters

 Any person charged with an offence has the right

  • (a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;

  • (b) to be tried within a reasonable time;

See R. v. Askov

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