Step 7 – Case Conference

 
Before the court will determine an application on a contested basis, the court requires attendance at a case conference. Many access cases are settled at case conference, which is a process managed by a judge that encourages parties (ex: grandparents and parents) to find a solution they can both live with and save themselves the time and expense of a contested hearing.
 
A requisition (see definition) must be filed when a case conference is set. In Winnipeg, if the date is set on the Motions List, (see step 5) there are photocopies of requisition forms in the courtroom to complete and give to the Registrar. If you do not set a case conference on the Motions List, you have to phone the Case Management Coordinator (see Court Locations) to get a date. You must then prepare, file and serve a requisition on the other party at least 14 days before the case conference.
 
Although the case management system is informal, a Case Management Information Statement must be prepared and filed by 2 p.m. at least two days before the first case conference. At the conference, the issues may be resolved. If not, the judge may ask for more information, refer the parties to mediation, or schedule another case conference. If the parties come to an agreement at the case conference, they prepare a consent order that shows what they actually agreed or consented to.
 
“Don’t rely on ‘understandings’ – it becomes very complicated if you have to go back to court – better to get all the details confirmed the first time.”
 
For the Queen’s Bench Rules on Case Management, see Appendix N.
To view a requisition (blank), see Appendix O.
To view a sample requisition (completed form), see Appendix P.
To view a sample of Case Management Information Statement (blank), see Appendix Q.
To view a sample of Case Management Information Statement (completed), see Appendix R.

Pre-trial conference

If you live outside Winnipeg, you will go through a process similar to case management. However, the meetings are called pre-trial conferences.
 
A pre-trial conference is like a case conference, with some slight differences:
 
  • If you want a hearing date, you have to go to a pre-trial conference.
  • The pre-trial brief must be filed and served at least 20 days before the pre-trial conference.
  • Like a case conference, if the parties come to an agreement, they prepare a consent order that accurately reflects what was consented to. All details should be written in the order.
  • If parties cannot come to an agreement, a hearing is scheduled where the judge considers evidence and makes a decision.
For the Queen’s Bench Rules on pre-trial conferences, see Appendix S.
 
Note: at a case conference or at a pre-trial conference, it is possible (though unusual) for the judge to direct that the case be decided at an oral hearing (trial). The parties would have to appear in court and give their evidence in person on the witness stand (rather than in an affidavit). This guide does not address procedure for a trial. This guide only provides the procedure for an Application Hearing where the evidence is given through an affidavit. In the case of a trial, grandparents will benefit from the advice of a lawyer.