The courts have tried to steer away from traditional paper bundles being made available for the Judge during hearings. Often, the courts are asking for the hearing bundle to be made available electronically so that the Judge and the advocates have the bundle before them on the screen to their computer or laptop in the courtroom.
Electronic bundles in court proceedings are becoming more common, especially when dealing with applications and case management hearings.
The courts are where feasible, seeking to have trials take place remotely so it might be the trial bundle needs to be an electronic bundle in such cases. As always, paying careful attention to orders made by the court is very important, so that there is strict compliance with them.
The Judges are getting somewhat displeased with electronic bundles that are messy in terms of pagination or format. In particular, page numbers not matching the index are a bug bear of Judges, as are inserting sheets that had incorrectly been omitted (ie, documents, 15a, 15b and 15c), meaning those three pages put the rest of the pages out of sync.
A particularly prickly Judge in Manchester recently warned that those who do not follow the rules in relation to bundles ought to expect “that they are likely to be sanctioned for the problems caused by such failures.” Sanctions in court proceedings usually involve costs but can be as extreme as striking out a party’s claim or defence. Judges can be very difficult when they want to be if displeased so do all you can to ensure any electronic bundle you might be ordered to produce, complies with the rules.
The main point to take away is that if you are ordered to prepare an electronic bundle, you must do so in accordance with the court rules which are set out in a guide which you can find here:
In short, the bundle needs to have an index and each page bearing a page number (ideally in the bottom right corner and remember to include the index itself within the pagination as starting at page one). It ought to comprise of a single pdf rather than a series of documents. Pdf software is available to create such bundles and the pagination. Ideally the index ought to link to the individual pages so that if the document is clicked on, on the index, it takes the person to the particular page.
Electronic bundles in court proceedings that do not meet requirements could affect the decision the Judge makes at the hearing or risk sanction.