The Senior Presiding Judge, President of the Family Division and Judge-in-charge of Live Services have issued new guidance on electronic court bundles. A copy of the guidance note is reproduced below.
GENERAL GUIDANCE ON ELECTRONIC COURT BUNDLES
This general guidance is intended to ensure a level of consistency in the provision of electronic bundles for court hearings (but not tribunal hearings) in a format that promotes the efficient preparation for, and management of, a hearing. It is subject to any specific guidance by particular courts or directions given for individual cases. It updates and replaces previous guidance published in May 2020.
- E-bundles must be provided in pdf format.
- All pages in an e-bundle must be numbered by computer-generated numbering, not by hand. The numbering should start at page 1 for the first page of the bundle (whether or not that is part of an index) and the numbering must follow sequentially to the last page of the bundle, so that the pagination matches the pdf numbering. If a hard copy of the bundle is produced, the pagination must match the e-bundle.
- Each entry in the index must be hyperlinked to the indexed document. All significant documents and all sections in bundles must be bookmarked for ease of navigation, with a short description as the bookmark. The bookmark should contain the page number of the document.
- All pages in an e- bundle that contain typed text must be subject to OCR (optical character recognition) if they have not been created directly as electronic text documents. This makes it easier to search for text, to highlight parts of a page, and to copy text from the bundle.
- Any page that has been created in landscape orientation should appear in that orientation so that it can be read from left to right. No page should appear upside down.
- The default view for all pages should be 100%.
- If a core bundle is required, then a PDF core bundle should be produced complying with the same requirements as a paper bundle.
- Thought should be given to the number of bundles required. It is usually better to have a single hearing e-bundle and (where appropriate) a separate single authorities e-bundle (compiled in accordance with these requirements), rather than multiple bundles (and follow any applicable court specific guidance ʹ see eg CPR PD52C Section VII).
- The resolution of the bundle should not be greater than 300 dpi, in order to avoid slow scrolling or rendering. The bundle should be electronically optimised so as to ensure that the file size is not larger than necessary.
- If a bundle is to be added to after it has been transmitted to the judge, then new pages should be added at the end of the bundle (and paginated accordingly). An enquiry should be made of the court as to the best way of providing the additional material. Subject to any different direction, the judge should be provided with both (a) the new section and, separately, (b) the revised bundle. This is because the judge may have already marked up the original bundle.
Filename: The filename for a bundle must contain the case reference and a short version of the name of the case and an indication of the content of the bundle – eg “CO12342021 Carpenters v Adventurers Hearing Bundle” or “CO12342021 Carpenters v Adventurers Authorities Bundle”.
Email: If the bundle is to be sent by email, please ensure the file size is not too large. For justice.gov e-mail addresses the maximum size of email and attachments is 36Mb in aggregate. Anything larger will be rejected. The subject line of the email should contain the case number, short form case name, hearing date and name of judge (if known).
Uploading bundles: Bundles should be sent to the court in accordance with the court’s directions. Where the bundle would otherwise be sent by email (rather than being uploaded to a portal) but is too large to be sent under cover of a single email then it may be sent to the Document Upload Centre by prior arrangement with the court ʹ for instructions see the Professional Users Guide.
Ordinarily the applicant is responsible for preparing the court bundles. If the applicant is unrepresented then the bundles must still if at all possible, comply with the above requirements. If it is not possible for an unrepresented litigant to comply with the requirements then a brief explanation of the reasons for this should be provided to the court as far in advance of the hearing as possible. Where possible the litigant in person should suggest a practical way of overcoming the problem. If the other party is represented then that party should consider offering to prepare the bundle.
Other internet guidance
There is guidance available freely available on the internet on how to use software to create bundles. See, for example, this YouTube video, prepared by QEB, and this video prepared by St Philips Chambers.
Lord Justice Haddon-Cave
Senior Presiding Judge
Sir Andrew Mcfarlane
President of the Family Division
Mr Justice Johnson
Judge-in-charge of Live Services
15 November 2021