Attending the Case Planning Conference
The Case Planning Conference will be held in a courtroom or meeting room, with a judge or master. It may (but probably will not) be heard the same judge who hears your case if it goes to trial. The conference is recorded, but the recording is not available to you unless you have a court order allowing you access.
Rule 5-2 tells you how the conference will be conducted. If you are representing yourself in the lawsuit, you must attend the first conference in person. If the other party is represented by a lawyer, only the lawyer must attend in person, unless the Court orders otherwise.
If there is more than one Case Planning Conference held, then you can attend later Case Planning Conferences by telephone.
If you want to be exempted from attending the Case Planning Conference, or do not want to attend in person, you can make an application to court about that issue by filing a requisition (Form 17). The Court may excuse you from attending if:
- It isn’t reasonably possible for you to attend, given the distance you must travel and the cost
- You have health or compassionate grounds for not attending or
- Some other extraordinary circumstances justify your non-attendance
If the judge has not excused you from attending the Case Planning Conference and you do not show up, the Case Planning Conference may go ahead without you, it may be adjourned, or you may be ordered to pay the costs of the other party who did attend.
The judge or master will review the progress of your case, including topics like whether you have or may want to explore other dispute resolution options (such as mediation), whether there are any issues concerning the exchange of documents, if examinations for discovery have been conducted, and so on.
While attending a Case Planning Conference ought not to be as stressful as some other court appearances may be, it is still a serious matter. You should dress appropriately, be on time, act respectfully, and know how to address court staff. For more information on what to expect see At Court.