Friday, January 20, 2012

A CASE CONFERENCE (What a Parent Needs to Know)

A CASE CONFERENCE (What a Parent Needs to Know)
Written by PAPA INBC (People Assisting Parents Association) 

Items To Bring
  • Case Conference brief for judge to read, include 1-page timeline, nor more that 2 pages of facts, emphasize poor timeline and CFCSA guidelines) one page of your statement of defence, finally what you are asking for (include the obvious, return of Ayn, but failing that, ask for # of court days, the court date to be established TODAY, witness list count, etc.)
  • The Case Conference brief is an important document, it sets the stage for the conference and provides MCFD a record of your position. Make sure it is retained on your MCFD file so a Freedom of Information Request supplies it.
  • Copy of the Order of Interim custody (get from court clerk if needed)
  • Copy of CFCSA (Lawyers should bring current edition of CLE's Family Law including CFCSA)
  • All clerk notes from first appearance, two presentation hearing dates and any other - you can get these from the counter if you don't already have a copy. Free.
  • Timeline document for your reference, medical, legal, MCFD meeting record
  • List of questions to be asked
  • List of statements to make that you don't expect answers to
  • Bring portfolio case that contains key documents with lined paper, sticky pads, 2 pens / pencils, audio recorder / iPod
  • Be prepared to write private messages of instructions to your lawyer during proceedings in case you cannot speak and have to instruct him.
  • Copy of affidavit and response, Form 1, Form A, any MCFD disclosures
Derek/Amie lawyers strike up conversation with MCFD lawyer, try to get position on return, and mention the no-supervision return offer, and get a reaction from her.

Inside Case Conference Room
  • First 15 minutes is when you find out if MCFD is there merely to pass time or whether they intend to participate in good faith.
  • Judge describes function of the 1-hour Case Conference, his powers and limitations in this setting.
  • Take notes (preferably audio record) of MCFD lawyer summarizing the case for judge. Ask for copy of their case brief. Note times you asked these questions.
  • Note their facial expressions, impressions (bored, attentive, staring off into space, nervous, aggressive etc.)
  • Note your response including feelings, impressions, apprehensions and the fact / event that goes along with it.
  • Dad/mom's lawyers give their version of the overview of the case to judge (otherwise he reads just Form1/A); try to get a read on his opinion of the matter. If lawyer sticks to the presentation form
  • Get judges' name and research after return home (in case you run across him again)
  • Write down time at each key point of discussion.
  • When this quarter ends you should know if MCFD intends to bargain and mediate or they won't budge.
This write-up assumes MCFD won’t budge, so it is time to get information and prepare for the next stage, the protection hearing.

For the next 20-30 minutes the parents know MCFD will not deal, so lay out information to force MCFD to defend their actions, but because they believe these proceedings are not transcribed, the answers are likely off-the cuff and may be different than what is given in open court later. Answers from MCFD that differ over time and location can later be used during the protection hearing to gain an advantage.

For The Last Bit Of Time, Make Sure You Have The Following Information
  • Witness count and names (MCFD may force a high number to maximize trial length time, so get the names to pull their bluff)
  • Days required for trial (try to get 3 days, limit to 5 days)
  • Court date (likely not obtainable during Case Conference)
  • Pretrial date (or date to acquire this time)
  • Date that the seized judge will be appointed
 The key thing to remember is that things rarely go to plan, and there will be something unexpected that will happen.

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