The key stages before a Civil case proceeds to a trial generally include the following:
- Pre-Trial Conference: once a matter has been scheduled for a trial, an administrative hearing (known as a Pre-Trial Conference) is held to find out the status of the case and confirm the date(s) of the trial. When you attend the Pre-Trial Conference, you must be prepared to confirm your availability to attend or conduct the trial and you must inform the Judge of the number of witnesses you would like to call and the estimated duration of the trial. The trial will generally be fixed within a month from the date of the Pre-Trial Conference. If you or any of your witnesses cannot speak English, this must be made known to the Judge hearing the pre-trial conference.
- Preparing for Trial: If you are calling on witnesses to give evidence in support of your case, they will need to attend the trial and you must check their availability to attend. If a witness is not willing to attend the trial, you can apply for a Court Order (known as a Subpoena) to make it compulsory for him to attend or otherwise be required to explain or face a penalty imposed by the Court for disobeying the Order.