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Pre-trial (Interim) Appearances

Before an accused person decides whether to plead guilty or not guilty, he or she may make a number of court appearances.

These appearances are called pre-trial or interim appearances and are often about arranging a lawyer for the accused or requesting further information from Crown counsel. Witnesses do not need to attend these interim appearance hearings.

If the accused intends to proceed to trial, both the accused and Crown counsel must file documents indicating the number of witnesses to be called and the length of time the hearing will take. When a preliminary hearing or trial date is set, a 'trial confirmation hearing' date is also set for six weeks to a month before the preliminary hearing or trial. At this hearing, Crown counsel and defence counsel confirm their readiness to go ahead as scheduled and confirm the length of time required.

Pre-trial conferences may also be scheduled before the preliminary hearing or trial, in order to resolve some of the issues which may arise in the trial or preliminary hearing. Pre-trial conferences are presided over by the same judge who will be sitting at the trial.

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