The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare for a Trial Date Assignment Conference

This short item is one in a series on the role of a professional engineer assisting counsel at the different stages of civil litigation.  Others in the series are listed below in the References.

The series is intended to help lawyers and their clients understand how they can use professional engineers in the resolution of disputes with technical issues.

The detailed tasks at this stage are listed below in blue.

Trial Date Assignment Conference

Once the principal discoveries have taken place, any party can ask for a Trial Date.  This is done with a formal notice to the court for a Trial Date Assignment Conference.

These conferences are based on formal submissions by the parties setting out:

  • The issues,
  • How many witnesses they will have,
  • How many of these witnesses are experts,
  • The general subject matter to which each witness will speak,
  • How long the trial will take, and,
  • Whether the trial will be judge alone or judge and jury.

The lawyers for each party attend in front of a judge during the Date Assignment Conference or confer over the telephone.  The parties to the action do not usually take part in the conference.

At the conference, the court sets a number of applicable dates:

  • The date by which all discoveries are to be completed,
  • Date by which expert reports are to be circulated,
  • Finish date,
  • Date for the trial readiness conference, and,
  • The date of the trial.

A professional engineer might assist counsel prepare for the Trial Date Assignment Conference in the following ways:

  1. Review forensic engineering investigation file and brief counsel on technical matters and issues relevant to the Trial Date Assignment Conference
  2. Advise counsel about time needed to finalize engineering report suitable for circulating as required by the judge
  3. Brief counsel on future availability for testifying at trial

References

  1. Steps in the civil litigation process, published August 28, 2012
  2. Steps in the forensic engineering investigation process, published October 26, 2012
  3. The role of a professional engineer in counsel’s decision to take a case, published June 26, 2012
  4. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Notice of Claim, published July 26, 2012
  5. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Statement of Claim, published September 11, 2012
  6. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare a Statement of Defence, published September 26, 2012
  7. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare an Affidavit of Documents, published October 4, 2012
  8. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel during Discovery, published October 16, 2012
  9. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel during Alternate Dispute Resolutionn (ADR), published November 16, 2012
  10. The role of a professional engineer assisting counsel prepare for a Settlement Conference, published November 29, 2012

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