ADA
setting the Trial Date: The Trial Setting Conference

This page tells you about:  

  1. Your Trial Setting Conference
  2. Should I have a Jury Trial or Court Trial?
  3. What do I have to do if I ask for a Jury Trial?
  4. Is there a time limit for discovery?

  1. Your Trial Setting Conference

    You will get a trial date when you have a hearing called a “Trial Setting Conference”. The judge wants everyone who will be trying the case to be at the hearing. This means your lawyer, if you have one. If you don’t, you have to go.

    The judge sets a trial date for sometime in the next 90 days. Bring your calendar so you can tell the judge when you are available. After you get trial date, get ready to go to trial on that date.

    In Santa Clara County, trial dates aren’t changed unless you have an extreme emergency. It’s not an emergency if you’re not prepared or it’s not convenient. Be ready to go to trial on your trial date.
     
  2. Should I have a Jury Trial or Court Trial?

    If you want to have a Jury Trial, tell the judge at your Trial Setting Conference. For more information, see California Code of Civil Procedure section 631 . Each party has to decide if they want a jury trial, or a Court Trial. A court trial is a trial with just the judge. It is also called a "Bench trial."

    There are a lot of things to think about when you decide what kind of trial to ask for. A lot people think that you have to have a jury trial, but that’s not always the best thing. Jury trials are good if you have a case about things that people can identify with. For example, if you got hurt or lost money. But, juries can get bored or frustrated with cases that are technical or complicated.

    Most judges are very good at understanding complicated problems. They can deal with those cases easily.

    Before you decide what kind of trial to ask for, think about your case and what you’ll ask the Judge or jury to solve.
     
  3. What do I have to do if I ask for a Jury Trial?

    You have to ask for a jury trial at the Trial Setting Conference The party that asks for a jury has to pay the jury fees. This means that they have to deposit money to cover the jury fees for one day.

    The deposit has to CLEAR in the bank account at least 25 days before the trial date. If you don’t deposit the money in time, you can give up your jury trial.

    See the Advance Jury Fees FAQ  posted July 2012 regarding deposit of advance jury fees for court reporter services under one hour.
     
  4. Is there a time limit for discovery?

    Yes. In general, you have to finish discovery 30 days before the trial date. The Court can give you more time to finish discovery, but you shouldn’t count on that. It’s an exception. Try to finish your discovery ahead of time. This will give everyone enough time to go over all the papers and get ready for trial.

    The California Code of Civil Procedure section 2024  has all the rules for discovery.

More information for the Plaintiff:

© 2014 Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara