Ontario Superior Court of Justice Trials

To Be Spoken To Court in Toronto – the unwritten rules

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This article outlines what you need to know about To Be Spoken To (TBST) Court in Toronto for civil matters. 

TBST Court is Toronto’s trial scheduling Court and an attendance is required for all trials longer than 10 days, although many trials under 10 days may wind up at TBST Court.  It is where trial and pre-trial conference dates are set.

Trial Certification Form

When a civil matter is set down for trial, the Trial Coordinator may send out a Certification Form to Set Pre-Trial and Trial Dates (aka a “trial certification form”) to the party who set the matter down for trial.  In some jurisdictions such as Toronto, the Trial Coordinator’s office is no longer sending these out and the parties must submit a completed form within 6 months of setting the case down for trial.

The trial certification form provides information to the Trial Coordinator to determine dates for pre-trial and trial, the length of pre-trial and trial (including the number of witnesses and estimated time for examinations), and if the form is coming from the Trial Coordinator’s office, it may identify important deadlines.

For most cases where the trial is less than 10 days and the trial certification form is completed and returned on time, a trial date will be set first, followed by a pre-trial conference date approximately 2 months before trial.

If the trial will take more than 10 days or the parties can’t agree to complete the trial certification form together, one of them must initiate TBST Court.  Motor vehicle accident cases and personal injury cases 6-15 days in length all go to TBST Court.

Scheduling To Be Spoken To Court

To get into To Be Spoken To Court in Toronto, the unwritten procedure is as follows:

  1. In Toronto, TBST Court appearances are held on Mondays at 9:30 am for trials 10 days or less and Wednesdays at 9:30 am for trials longer than 10 days.  Usually in Courtroom 801 or 802 on the 8th floor of 393 University Ave.
  2. Contact the appropriate Trial Coordinator (short: trials up to 10 days in length or long: longer than 10 days) and inform them of your intention to attend TBST and to check on available dates.  The Trial Coordinator’s email is
  3. Clear the date with all other parties; and
  4. Confirm with the Trial Coordinator the date, time, location and Courtroom, copying the other parties.  Attach a copy of the trial certification form.

What to Expect at To Be Spoken To Court

Gowns are no longer required.  It’s a good idea to arrive by 9 am so there is time to speak to the Trial Coordinator about available dates.

The lawyer attending TBST Court must be familiar with the case to the point that they are able to complete the trial certification form and work out a timetable for expert reports.  Furthermore, the lawyer must have access to the trial lawyer’s calendar for scheduling both the trial and pre-trial conference.

The process at Court is to arrive early, get an available trial date (generally 1 year out for trials 6-10 days long and 2 years out for trials over 10 days), complete a Timetable for Service of Expert Reports, when the matter is called give the Judge a brief summary of what the case is about and what the agreed upon trial start date is, if the trial date is approved, a pre-trial confernce date may be set while addressing the Judge and an endorsement will be signed confirming the trial and pre-trial dates and attaching the Timetable for Service of Expert Reports.

Timetable for Service of Expert Reports

Issues with experts arising at pre-trial conferences have prompted the Court to reduce the deadlines in the Rules of Civil Procedure to a Court order made at TBST Court.  In fact, rule 53.03(2.2) requires parties to agree on a timetable for expert reports within 60 days of setting a matter down for trial.

Pursuant to rule 53.03(1), plaintiff expert reports are due 90 days before pre-trial conference conference, defendant expert reports are due 60 days before the pre-trial conference.  Pursuant to rule 53.03(3), supplementary reports are due at least 45 days before trial and responding supplementary reports at least 15 days before trial.  These deadlines can inform the timetable for service of expert reports.

Getting Ready for Pre-Trial and Trial

With your pre-trial and trial dates scheduled, it’s a good time to think about pre-trial conferences and trial.

On the topic of pre-trial conferences see our Pre-Trial Conference Checklist.

On the topic of trial, see trial book HOW TO WINg A TRIAL and the Ontario Civil Trial Checklist.

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Resources by a trial lawyer, available online:

Trial Book Trial Manual Trial Checklist Trial Forms

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