A court bundle is a lever arch folder (or number of folders) which contain evidence, case management paperwork (e.g. application forms and directions), statements, expert reports and documents related to a case.
The court bundle should have an index and the following separate sections:
In every case a time estimate (which shall be inserted at the front of the bundle) shall be prepared which shall so far as practicable be agreed by all parties and shall:
Once a case has been listed (a date and time has been set), any change in time estimates shall be notified immediately by telephone (and then immediately confirmed in writing):
Copies of all authorities (case law) relied upon (if filing a skeleton argument) must be contained in a separate composite bundle agreed between the advocates/parties.
All statements, affidavits, experts´ reports and other reports included in the bundle must be copies of originals which have been signed and dated.
The documents in the bundle must be arranged in chronological order from the front of the bundle, paginated individually and consecutively (starting with page 1 and using Arabic numbering throughout e.g. 1,2,3). Additionally, each section should be separately paginated.
The summary of the background, statement of issues, chronology and reading list shall in the case of a final hearing, and shall so far as practicable in the case of any other hearing, each consist of a single document in a form agreed by all parties. Where the parties disagree as to the content the fact of their disagreement and their differing contentions shall be set out at the appropriate places in the document.
Where one party is a litigant-in-person and the other party is represented, this can get missed. The relevant rule can be found at paragraph 4.6 of Practice Direction 27A.
Unless the court has specifically directed otherwise, being satisfied that such direction is necessary to enable the proceedings to be disposed of justly, the bundle shall be contained in one A4 size ring binder or lever arch file limited to no more than 350 sheets of A4 paper and 350 sides of text (the size limit applies from July 2014).
All documents in the bundle shall be copied on one side of paper only, unless the court has specifically directed otherwise, and be typed or printed in a font no smaller than 12 point and with 1 and a half or double spacing.
The ring binder or lever arch file shall have clearly marked on the front and the spine:
The following documents should not be included within the bundle unless specifically directed by the court:
The applicant will normally be responsible for preparing the bundle, unless they are a litigant-in-person (representing themselves without a solicitor), where the first listed respondent´s solicitor has this responsibility. If no party is represented, a court bundle need not be filed with the court unless the court specifically directs that a party should do so. The contents of the bundle should ideally be agreed by all parties.
A court bundle must be prepared for all hearings (unless both parties are litigants-in-person) or a hearing has been listed urgently and it is impractical to produce a bundle in the timescale.
The party preparing the bundle shall, whether or not the bundle has been agreed, provide a paginated index to all other parties not less than 4 working days before the hearing.
Where a barrister is to represent a party at any hearing, a paginated bundle shall (if not already in the barrister´s possession) be delivered to the barrister by the instructing solicitor not less than 3 working days before the hearing.
The bundle (with the exception of the preliminary documents if available) must be lodged with the court not less than 2 working days before the hearing, or at such other time as may be specified by the judge. The preliminary documents must be lodged with the court no later than 11 am on the day before the hearing and, where the hearing is before a High Court judge and the name of the judge is known, be sent by e-mail to the judge´s clerk at the same time.
The receipt (or proof of posting or despatch, as the case may be) should be brought to court on the day of the hearing and must be produced to the court if requested.
Where hearings are at the Royal Courts of Justice, bundles or preliminary documents delivered after 11 am on the day before the hearing may not be accepted by the Clerk of the Rules and if not shall be delivered:
Upon learning before which judge a hearing is to take place, the clerk to counsel, or other advocate, representing the party in the position of applicant shall no later than 3 pm the day before the hearing:
Following completion of the hearing the party responsible for the bundle shall retrieve it from the court immediately or, if that is not practicable, shall collect it from the court within five working days. Bundles which are not collected in due time may be destroyed.
Failure to provide a bundle in the correct format and within the correct time frames can result in cases being delayed and wasted costs orders being made.
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Family law information for parents whose children are resident in England and Wales
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