Settlement Conferences

Settlement Conference

 

There are three primary purposes as to why the Ontario Small Claims Court holds settlement conferences.  They are as follows:

[ 1 ]  SETTLE THE ACTION: Like the name suggests, a settlement conference is an opportunity to settle the matter without having to go to trial.  The person presiding over the settlement conference (usually a Deputy Judge) will often explore the issues with the parties, provide an opinion and the canvass the possibilities of settling the matter.  About 80% of defended actions get resolved at the settlement conference stage.

[ 2 ]  EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION: This happens both before, at and after the settlement conference and is intended to ensure that each side is aware of the case they are up against which can also be a contributing factor in settling a matter.

[ 3 ]  PREPARE FOR TRIAL: If a settlement is not possible then the person conducting the settlement conference may explore what each side may need to do in order successfully advance their respective cases at trial.  The person conducting the settlement conference will not, however, provide legal advance or set out a step-by-step list of things that a party may need to do in order to successful present their case.  Often information with respect to preparing the parties for trial is general in nature.