The Chancery Division has introduced strict new provisions which apply from 1st October 2014. No bundle no hearing. Here we look at the essential elements of the guidance and application bundles.
THE PRACTICE NOTE
The Practice Note states:
“Old and New Claims from 1 October 2014
13. From 1 October 2014 a hearing bundle will be required for every hearing,
however short. A strict “No bundle, no hearing” policy will be adopted. If no
bundle has been lodged, it is very likely the hearing will be adjourned to the
next available date.
14. Responsibility for lodging the hearing bundle will normally fall on the
applicant. The parties must co-operate with each other and all parties have
responsibility for ensuring that the court receives a bundle lodged two clear
days before the hearing, save where this is impossible due to the urgent nature
of the hearing. Late service of documents is not a reason to delay lodging the
bundle. If necessary, documents may be added to the bundle.
15. A party appearing on an application without notice at 2.15pm must bring a
bundle if it has not been possible to lodge one in advance.
16. Form 149C (Notice of Provisional Allocation) requires the parties to lodge a
range of documents. It will be the responsibility of the claimant to lodge a
bundle containing the statements of case, the directions questionnaires and all
associated documents within 5 working days of the deadline specified in Form
17. Exhibits should only include the essential documents. Correspondence should
only be exhibited where there is a real need for it being considered by the court and a real likelihood of it being referred to at a hearing. The provisions
of paragraphs 9 and 10 will apply to Old and New claims from 1st October 2014.”(emphasis added)
A REMINDER ABOUT THE CHANCERY GUIDE TO BUNDLES
The Chancery Guide has clear guidance on the preparation of bundles.
Appendix 6: Guidelines on bundles
Bundles of documents must comply with paragraph 3 of PD 39A – Miscellaneous Provisions
relating to Hearings. These guidelines are additional to those requirements, and they should
be followed wherever possible.
1. The preparation of bundles requires co-operation between the legal representatives
for all parties, and in many cases a high level of co-operation. It is the duty of all legal
representatives to co-operate to the necessary level. Where a party is a litigant in
person it is also that party’s duty to co-operate as necessary with the other parties’
2. Bundles should be prepared in accordance with the following guidance.
Avoidance of duplication
3. No more than one copy of any one document should be included, unless there is good
reason for doing otherwise. One such reason may be the use of a separate core
4. If the same document is included in the chronological bundles and is also an exhibit to
an affidavit or witness statement, it should be included in the chronological bundle and
where it would otherwise appear as an exhibit a sheet should instead be inserted.
This sheet should state the page and bundle number in the chronological bundles
where the document can be found.
5. Where the court considers that costs have been wasted by copying unnecessary
documents, a special costs order may be made against the relevant person. In no
circumstances should rival bundles be presented to the court.
Chronological order and organisation
6. In general documents should be arranged in date order starting with the earliest
7. If a contract or other transactional document is central to the case it may be included
in a separate place provided that a page is inserted in the chronological run of
documents to indicate where it would have appeared chronologically and where it is to
be found instead. Alternatively transactional documents may be placed in a separate
bundle as a category.
8. This is covered by paragraph 3 of the PD, but it is permissible, instead of numbering
the whole bundle, to number documents separately within tabs. An exception to
consecutive page numbering arises in the case of the core bundle. For this it may be
preferable to retain the original numbering with each bundle represented by a
9. Page numbers should be inserted in bold figures, at the bottom of the page and in a
form that can clearly be distinguished from any other pagination on the document.
Format and presentation
10. Where possible, the documents should be in A4 format. Where a document has to be
read across rather than down the page, it should so be placed in the bundle as to
ensure that the top of the text starts nearest the spine.
11. Where any marking or writing in colour on a document is important, for example on a
conveyancing plan, the document must be copied in colour or marked up correctly in
12. Documents in manuscript, or not easily legible, should be transcribed; the
transcription should be marked and placed adjacent to the document transcribed.
13. Documents in a foreign language should be translated; the translation should be
marked and placed adjacent to the document translated; the translation should be
agreed or, if it cannot be agreed, each party’s proposed translation should be
14. The size of any bundle should be tailored to its contents. There is no point having a
large lever-arch file with just a few pages inside. On the other hand bundles should
not be overloaded as they tend to break. No bundle should contain more than 300
15. Binders and files must be strong enough to withstand heavy use.
16. Large documents, such as plans, should be placed in an easily accessible file. If they
will need to be opened up often, it may be sensible for the file to be larger than A4
Indices and labels
17. Indices should, if possible, be on a single sheet. It is not necessary to waste space
with the full heading of the action. Documents should be identified briefly but properly,
e.g. “AGS3 – Defendant’s Accounts”.
18. Outer labels should use large and clearly visible lettering, e.g. “A. Pleadings.” The full
title of the action and solicitors’ names and addresses should be omitted. A label
should be used on the front as well as on the spine.
19. It is important that a label should also be stuck on to the front inside cover of a file, in
such a way that it can be clearly seen even when the file is open.
20. All staples, heavy metal clips etc. should be removed.
Statements of case
21. Statements of case should be assembled in ‘chapter’ form, i.e. claim form followed by
particulars of claim, followed by further information, irrespective of date.
22. Redundant documents, e.g. particulars of claim overtaken by amendments, requests
for further information recited in the answers given, should generally be excluded.
Backsheets to statements of case should also be omitted.
Witness statements, affidavits and expert reports
23. Where there are witness statements, affidavits and/or expert reports from two or more
parties, each party’s witness statements etc. should, in large cases, be contained in
24. The copies of the witness statements, affidavits and expert reports in the bundles
should have written on them, next to the reference to any document, the reference to
that document in the bundles. This can be done in manuscript.Chancery Guide
25. Documents referred to in, or exhibited to, witness statements, affidavits and expert
reports should be put in a separate bundle and not placed behind the statement
concerned, so that the reader can see both the text of the statement and the
document referred to at the same time.
26. Backsheets to affidavits and witness statements should be omitted.
27. Before a new document is introduced into bundles which have already been delivered
to the court – indeed before it is copied – steps should be taken to ensure that it
carries an appropriate bundle/page number, so that it can be added to the court
documents. It should not be stapled, and it should be prepared with punch holes for
immediate inclusion in the binders in use.
28. If it is expected that a large number of miscellaneous new documents will from time to
time be introduced, there should be a special tabbed empty loose-leaf file for that
purpose. It is conventional to label this file “X”. An index should be produced for this
file, updated as necessary.
29. It is seldom that all inter-solicitor correspondence is required. Only those letters which
are likely to be referred to should be copied. They should normally be placed in a
30. Where the volume of documents needed to be included in the bundles, and the nature
of the case, makes it sensible, a separate core bundle should be prepared for the trial,
containing those documents likely to be referred to most frequently.
Basis of agreement of bundles
31. See Chapter 7, paragraph 13.
- The Practice Direction on bundles for hearings or trial
- Guildhall Chambers on How to Prepare Bundles
- District Judge Waterworth on Trial Bundles:Why they are important and how to get them right
- The most popular individual post on this blog: Trial Bundles; Timing, Contents and Presentation and do you know Sedley’s Laws.