Pretrial, also called pretrial conference or pretrial review, is a hearing prior to trial, which all parties involved in the trial attempt to determine the issues, laws, or facts matter, before the court trial. It would be held when all initial pleadings have been submitted.

In civil cases, pretrial discovery occurs when the attorneys of both parties reach consensus on relevant facts or evidence and put them into an agreement, with the stipulation that this consensus will be binding for the subsequent procedure of the trial. 

In criminal cases, the court may hold one or more pretrial conferences, where the defense and prosecution exchange information about the case and will discuss what evidence will be presented in the court. Any crime or evidence beyond the memorandum agreed by the defendant or their lawyer will not be used against them according to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 17.1.

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]