Trying to Get a Trial Date in Ontario? Judges say read the practice directions!

  • January 16, 2018
  • Brookelyn Kirkham

Are you a junior lawyer that has not yet set an action down for trial? Have you heard about the inefficiencies of setting a trial date in scheduling court? Certain regional practice directions include particular processes for getting your trial date and judges are reminding litigators to take a look!

There is no trial scheduling court in the Toronto or Central West regions. Actions are certified ready for trial through a written form.

In the Central East region, you can arrange to attend scheduling court by teleconference.

If your action was set down for trial in the Central South, you can avoid attending trial scheduling court by filing a written consent early.

See below for a quick reference guide on navigating the trial scheduling process in Ontario. 


Practice Direction

Toronto and
Central West


The practice of certifying an action ready for trial continues in the Toronto Region and Brampton.

After a trial record is filed, the trial office will send to the party who set the action down for trial a Certification Form to Set Pre-Trial and Trial Dates.

After consultation with the opposing counsel or party, the party who received the form must complete and return the Certification Form to the Civil Trial Office.

If a completed Certification Form is not returned by the date specified on the covering memo, the action will be struck from the trial list.

Central East

Once the pre-trial conference judge has endorsed that the case is ready for trial, the case will be listed for appearance in the Central East Trial Scheduling Court (CETSC). The CETSC will take place in Oshawa at least once per month, usually on the last Thursday of the month. It will be presided over by the Regional Senior Judge or his or her designate.

Counsel of record for each party is expected to attend the CETSC. While it is preferable that counsel attend in person, attendance by telephone conference call at pre-booked times during the course of the day is permissible.

Arrangements for attendance by telephone conference call can be made through the Trial Coordinator in the centre where the action is outstanding, or the Oshawa Trial Coordinator, no later than the Friday before the scheduled CETSC.

In the event that counsel of record is not available to attend in person or by telephone conference call, a fully instructed lawyer acting as counsel’s agent must attend the CETSC in person.

Central South

Each court location in the region holds trial sittings at different times throughout the calendar year. Trial scheduling courts for short civil trials (15 days or less) are held monthly in each of the court locations in the Central South Region.  Dates for trial scheduling court and trial sittings can be found in the Central South Region’s Regional Court Calendar.

Short Trials

A short civil trial is a trial that is expected to be completed in 15 days or less.

Upon filing of the trial record, the registrar shall provide the listing party or their counsel with the notice of trial scheduling court. Within five days of receipt, the listing party or their counsel must serve the notice of trial scheduling court on all other parties or their counsel.

In advance of trial scheduling court, the listing party is expected to obtain available trial dates from the trial coordinator and canvass those dates with the other parties. Parties are then expected to agree upon a date among the available trial dates.

Dates for short trials will then be assigned in one of the following methods:

a.      Where the parties agree to a trial date, they may file a written consent with the trial coordinator requesting that the agreed upon trial date/week be assigned to the case. If the trial coordinator receives the consent by 2:00 p.m. three business days before the scheduled trial scheduling court the parties do not need to attend trial scheduling court.  The trial record will be endorsed in chambers.

b.      Where the parties do not agree to a trial date, they must attend to speak to the matter at trial scheduling court so that a trial date/week will be assigned.


[0] Comments