The Criminal and Penal Division of the Court of Québec offers facilitation conferences in criminal and penal matters in all judicial districts.
A facilitation conference in a criminal and penal matter is a process that promotes the progress of a case by facilitating the search for a legal solution that best meets the needs of the parties involved.
2. TERMS OF ACCESS
The parties represented by counsel can ask the coordinating judge in the region where the request is made, or a judge designated by the coordinating judge, to hold a penal facilitation conference and must, to that end, sign the form entitled Joint Request for a Facilitation Conference in Criminal and Penal Matters .
a) The conference is held behind closed doors.
Only the attorneys participate, unless, with the parties' consent, another person is authorized by the judge to participate.
c) The attorneys undertake in writing to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions.
d) The other people authorized to participate in the conference must also sign the confidentiality agreement, thereby undertaking to maintain the confidentiality of the discussions.
e) The discussions during a facilitation conference are not recorded.
4. OTHER CHARACTERISTICS
a) The presiding judge does not wear a robe.
b) The judge ensures that the conference takes place in a friendly atmosphere conducive to discussions.
c) At the start of the meeting, the presiding judge explains to the parties the process and the established rules, including those they determine together.
d) The presiding judge can meet with the parties separately if they agree to that.
e) If a solution is not found during the conference, the presiding judge cannot then participate in hearing the case.
f) However, with the parties' consent, the judge can convert the facilitation conference into a preparatory conference. The admissions and identification of the issues in dispute are then recorded in minutes signed by the parties and their attorneys.
g) The trial judge is not informed that a penal facilitation conference was held prior the trial.
h) If the attorneys wish to settle the case, another judge hears the arguments, unless, at the attorneys' requests, the judge who held the conference is convinced he or she should hear it.
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