An important step when approaching trial.
As a case moves toward a hearing in court, one technique for lessening the time spent is by preparing a “court bundle”. Court bundles are generally needed for any case that will appear in court. The thought is that the judge will have the option to pre-read all the important documents for the case. All the relevant parties will likewise have all the evidences and copies of any precedents collected together in one place, making it simpler to reference information during the trial. In principle there is no reason behind why essentially making copies of all the relevant documents in a case should be problematic, but it may not surprise you to learn that all kinds of problems happen in practice.
Usually the responsibility of getting the bundles ready falls upon the party who made the application for the hearing and they are responsible for paginating it.
Contents of a court bundle
The court needs to have copies of the following documents, presented in chronological order from the front of the bundle:
(a) Preliminary documents and any case management documents;
(b) Applications and orders;
(c) Statements and affidavits (which must be dated in the top right corner of the front page);
(e) Experts’ reports and other reports; and
(f) Any other documents, divided into further sections as appropriate.
Adding to these documents, some courts would require updated summaries of matters that are relevant with the hearing; statements of issues to be determined; position statements from each party, including a summary of orders sought; a chronology; skeleton arguments; and lists of essential reading.
Format of the bundle
Bundles are usually contained in one or more A4 size ring binders or lever arch files where each lever arch file is being limited to about 350 pages.
All ring binders and lever arch files would need to be marked clearly spine and front with:
(a) The title and number of the case;
(b) The court where the case has been listed;
(c) The hearing date and time;
(d) The name of the judge hearing the case (if known); and
(e) Where there is more than one ring binder or lever arch file, a distinguishing letter (A, B, C, etc.).
Timetable for preparing the bundle
More often than not, the preparation of the bundle is left to the last minute in order to save the cost of having to prepare it. Therefore, this can cause the person tasked with preparing it with difficulties. Cases can have different deadlines for the bundle to be lodged, however it is more likely that mistakes will be made if there is less than a week left to work on it. A worst case scenario would be the bundle not being logged. If this would happen, the court might decide that the hearing should be adjourned and the frim responsible would need to the cost that their opponents incurred.
Example Content for a Simple Court Bundle
Statement of evidence
Correspondence from claimant
Correspondence from defendant
Relevant case law summary
R v Stephens
Terms & Condtions 1997
Terms & Conditions 2005