“Going to court” is the same thing as “going to trial.”

Not necessarily.

Not all matters go to a trial. Many matters may get resolved before trial. Or, even if there is a trial, there may be many steps before the trial. These steps before the trial may also take place in a courtroom. You can think of a trial as being one possible outcome of the court process.

For example:

  • Many “pre-trial” applications take place in “docket court” or “chambers.” These hearings are held in a courtroom that is open to the public. They are generally shorter and less formal than trials. The orders in these hearings are not usually intended to be the final decision in a matter. However, many parties choose to just accept the orders granted in applications as a permanent solution. They never go to trial and never get a final “judgment.”
  • You can go to docket court or chambers to get a “Consent Order” from a judge. At any time, the parties can agree on some or all of the issues between them. In some cases, the parties may want or need to turn that agreement into a court order. This is called a Consent Order.
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