A pre-trial motion is an application made by the Crown or defence counsel, asking the court to make a specific order related to a criminal matter. Pre-trial motions are a way for the Crown and defence counsel to deal with certain issues related to the trial prior to the trial itself.
Pre-trial motions occur after both Crown pre-trials and judicial pre-trials have been conducted. Pre-trial motions occur after the matter has been set down for trial. This means that if there was a preliminary inquiry, pre-trial motions would occur after the accused has been committed to trial. Where there is no preliminary inquiry, pre-trial motions would occur sometime after trial dates have been set.
There are many different types of motions depending on what the lawyers are asking the court to do. They are often used when one side wants something to occur, and the other size opposes it.
Once a pre-trial motion is scheduled, both the Crown and defence lawyer will draft their respective motion material. This motion package will typically include a memorandum of the party’s arguments as well as a book of authorities. The book of authorities contains other case law that tends to support the party’s motion. Typically, the written material will be exchanged between counsels and filed with the court in advance of the motion date. On the motion date, the party’s will attend court and make oral arguments for their respective side.