The Court of Québec offers a service of facilitation conferences in criminal and penal matters for the parties in criminal and penal cases.
What is a facilitation conference in criminal and penal matters?
A facilitation conference in criminal and penal matters is a process used to achieve progress in a case by facilitating the search for the judicial solution that is most acceptable to the parties involved.
When can an application be made for a facilitation conference in criminal and penal matters?
An application for a facilitation conference can be made at any point in the judicial process, but preferably before the case is heard in court.
How does a facilitation conference work?
The conference is held behind closed doors, using flexible rules that are designed to facilitate agreement between the parties concerning the points in dispute.
Following a joint request by the attorney for each party, the coordinating judge for the region concerned designates a judge of the criminal and penal division to act as a facilitator and preside at the facilitation conference.
How much does the service cost?
The service itself is provided free of charge. However, a defendant who is not eligible for legal aid must agree with his or her attorney on how much the attorney will be paid for attending.
How and when does the facilitation conference end?
If the conference leads to a judicial solution to at least one of the points in dispute, including the determination of the sentence, the agreement is then submitted to the judge who presided at the conference if the parties so request or to another judge.
If the facilitation conference does not lead to an agreement on at least one of the points in dispute, the judge who presided at the conference cannot hear the case in court. The case is heard by another judge, who cannot be told, without the consent of both parties, that a conference has taken place.
The parties ans their attorneys, as well as the judge who acts as a facilitator, undertake to respect the confidentiality of any information disclosed during the conference.
How to request a facilitation conference?
To obtain a facilitation conference, the attorney for one party must contact the attorney for the other party. Together, they must present a joint request to the coordinating judge for the district where the file originates, using the form Joint Request for a Facilitation Conference in Criminal and Penal Matters , also available on the Court of Québec website, in the Facilitation Conference in Criminal and Penal Matters section.
To see the operating rules