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CWS toolkit iconPretrial Hearing

A pretrial hearing has three objectives: First, it provides an opportunity for an early resolution of the case without a trial or to narrow the issues for trial. Secondly, this hearing is used to establish time frames for discovery, to exchange witness lists, and to file motions. Finally, it allows the court and the parties to agree on a trial date. In some jurisdictions the pretrial is the first hearing at which the respondent(s) are represented by an attorney. While the law provides that more than one pretrial hearing may be held, rarely is more than one such hearing held.

The pretrial can be a productive hearing because its timing allows the parties to become more familiar with the facts of the case and to have a better understanding of what will be necessary to resolve the matter. The respondent(s) will have lawyers, the child’s lawyer-guardian ad litem will have had the opportunity to conduct the mandated investigation, and the agency workers will have a better understanding of what factors are critical to the welfare of the child and what services will be necessary to address those factors. In preparing for the pretrial, each party should have an understanding of what is minimally necessary to resolve the case, what additional information is needed, a tentative list of witnesses to be called in the event a trial is necessary, and a time estimate to prepare for trial.


 Toolkit Information

Discovery (procedural issue)
Common Evidentiary Issues (procedural issue)
Motion Practice (procedural issue)
Pleas of Admission/No Contest (procedural issue)
Review of Referee Recommendations (procedural issue)
Roles and Responsibilities
Statutes, Court Rules, DHS Policies
MJI Child Protective Proceedings Benchbook -- Pretrial Proceedings

 Publications & Administrative Memos

Parents Attorney Protocol
Michigan Absent Parent Protocol
Livingston County Parent Handbook
Entire Library

 Court Forms

Order after Pretrial Hearing (JC11b)
Waiver of Summons/Notice of Hearing (JC23)
Request and Order for Review of Referee Recommendation (JC42)

 Training Information

Archived Materials and Upcoming Programs