The Pre-Trial Conference (“PTC”) may be a proactive case management mechanism provided for under Order 34A of the principles of the Court. The Registrar’s usually conducted PTCs, and the first PTC is usually scheduled six weeks after the filing of the Writ. If the Writ is served, the primary PTC is going to be rescheduled to within eight weeks from the date on which the Writ is served or the Memorandum of Appearance is filed.
At PTC’s, the Registrar will usually seek an update on the status of an action. Directions will then be given for the parties to progress the action expeditiously and fairly, e.g. the filing of interlocutory applications and therefore the timelines therein. An action may go through several PTCs. Parties who settle a PTC may record the settlement before the Registrar. Otherwise, trial dates are going to be given for matters that can’t be settled. Now we learn what is a pretrial conference what happens there during conduction.
The PTCs can also be conducted by Judges (“JPTCs”) to facilitate a more active role just in case management. The JPTC’s are usually scheduled after the completion of Discovery and again after the exchange of the Affidavits of Evidence-in-Chief of the witnesses.
As part of the effort to promote the productive and amicable resolution of disputes, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Form ( ADR Form ) has been introduced for parties’ consideration in respect to Writs filed on or after 1 December 2013. The Registrar may give directions on the completion and submission of the ADR Form at the first (or subsequent) PTC. Where parties indicate an interest to aim mediation, the Registrar may give directions for the parties to approach the Singapore Mediation Centre to get a mediation date. The Registrar may order that court timelines be held abeyant pending mediation.
The Court Fees payable for the filing of the documents in respect of Pretrial Matters may be found in Appendix B of the Rules of Court.
If your case is going to trial, there will first be a pretrial conference. In most cases, the parties will make a joint request for booking a pretrial. There is a cost of $75 to book a pretrial. You must attend the pretrial conference.
The goals of a pretrial conference are:
- to allow the parties to participate in the problem-solving process.
- to allow settlement options to be presented which might not necessarily be available at trial.
- to allow the parties to receive the advantage of an attempt to judge’s views on issues that remain unresolved.
- if the settlement is not achieved, to narrow the issues that need to be decided at trial and arrive at all reasonable agreements that will minimize time at trial.
- to take the other steps which can improve the efficiency of the trial and save time and costs for parties and witnesses.
The pretrial is conducted by a judge who will not be the judge at the trial. Where no settlement is reached, discussions between the parties are privileged, meaning that things that are said cannot be mentioned at trial.
The pretrial conference should both the parties need to file a pretrial brief and give a copy of it to the other party ten days before.
The pretrial brief must:
- state clearly on the primary page the name of the party filing the brief.
- include a summary of evidence that will be presented.
- including a brief statement of the issues in dispute and the law relating to those issues as well as anything, such as case law, that supports the party’s case – see Resources for information on where to seek out legislation and case law.
- including all the documents that are intended to be used at the trial, including medical and expert reports.
- The pretrial brief can also include a proposal to settle the issues.
What happens at a pretrial conference?
A defendant, the person charged, or the attorney of the defendant will be allowed to meet with a prosecutor to review the facts supporting the criminal charges against him or her. At the pretrial, a defendant is entitled to review a replica of the complaint, any written police reports, or the other evidence that the State intends to use at the trial. Witnesses don’t attend the pretrial disposition conference, and no testimony is taken. However, victims do have the proper to be present if they request to try to so.