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After an answer has been filed with the court, a case management conference may be scheduled by the court. If you fail to appear at the case management conference, there may be negative consequences. The judge, clerk-magistrate or assistant clerk-magistrate will conduct the case management conference. Depending upon the court and the matter, these proceedings may be short and simple, or they could be long and complex. At the case management conference the parties may:
Discovery is a way for you and the other side to exchange information. Typically this process occurs after a complaint and answer have been filed and one party asks another party to produce documents or respond in another way to a request for information. In some cases, however, for example in certain family law cases, the parties are required to exchange financial information within a certain amount of time after the complaint is filed even if one party does not request it from the other party.
Discovery will help you prepare your witnesses and determine which documents you want to submit to the court if your case goes to trial. All aspects of discovery are governed by rules and law. You need to know the rules that apply to your case.
There are several types of discovery. Some examples are:
Except when your case requires self-disclosure, you are not required to conduct discovery. However, if the other side sends you discovery requests, you must respond as required by the applicable rules. The rules include strict time limits. If you fail to comply, you could be penalized by the court. You may even risk losing your case. Know the rules that apply to your case and follow them.
After discovery is completed, a number of things may happen, including:
No. Many people believe that every case proceeds to trial and every party gets his or her day in court. You may picture yourself questioning witnesses in your case and making a closing argument. However, the fact is that very few cases actually go to trial. The vast majority of cases are settled by agreement of the parties. The agreement may be reviewed by the judge and may become part of a final order or judgment in the case.
If your case is proceeding to trial, a pre-trial conference may be scheduled. The pre-trial conference provides an opportunity for the parties to:
The pre-trial conference is usually conducted by a judge. The parties may request a pre-trial conference or the court may schedule one to make sure the case keeps moving.
At the pre-trial conference, you may be required to file a pre-trial memorandum. You need to follow any rules, orders or instructions of the court related to the preparation of your memorandum and appearance at the pre-trial conference. If you do not appear at the pre-trial conference or file the memorandum as required, you may be penalized or even lose your chance to bring or defend your claim.
A trial date is often set at the pre-trial conference.