Preparing a Bundle for Court
Submit Articles Back to Articles
Written on 30
When preparing for a trial a bundle must be created. A bundle
consists of all the most relevant documents so that a court
may easily understand the case. A simple summary at the start of the
bundle will suffice. The bundle also provides an easy way for all, the
judge, and the defendant to have access to the same documents and will
ensure that everyone is on the right page for the smooth
delivery of evidence.
The defence will wish to see the documents that
need to be relied on in Court; the fact that there is a bundle
containing the documents that will be used gives them the best
opportunity to prepare for the case and allows for both
parties to have have an equal footing.
The bundle must as a minimum contain:
- A copy of the claim form and statements of case
- A summary and/or chronology where appropriate
- Requests for further information and responses to the
- All witness statements to be relied on as evidence
- Any witness summaries
- Any notices to rely on hearsay evidence
- Any notices of intention to rely on evidence not contained
in a witness statement, affidavit or experts report, being given orally
- Any medical reports and responses to them
- Any experts reports and responses to them
- Any order for directions
- Any other necessary documents
A bundle must avoid duplication of documents as this is a
waste of paper, as well as this the documents must be in chronological
order and organised so that, like a story it follows from beginning to
end which gives an easier read for the judge and everyone involved.
All documents in the bundle must be paginated with an index
containing a description of each document to keep everything in a
flowing order and without conflicts for the trial to go as smoothly as
possible. Documents are usually kept in binders or lever arch files to
keep at the documents together.
If there is any dispute with the bundles or if it is simply
too difficult to follow then a court may reject it or reject cost order
for the creation of the bundles. Christopher Clarke J listed the
deficiencies in the trial bundle in OJSC v Abramovich 2008 EWHC 261:
“These failings, which are neither familiar, nor, in the
overall scheme of things, momentous, ought not to occur. They add,
unnecessarily and avoidably to the burden of dealing expeditiously with
a case of this magnitude.”
What he was saying therefore that in a complicated case where
many documents are passing hands, this ill preparation of a bundle
creates unnecessary problems which shouldn’t exist if they took better
care in the creation of the bundle.
In practice the bundle will contain all the documents relevant
for the case, the responsibility of making a bundle is usually down to
the claimant's solicitor but the parties can agree otherwise.
A typical bundle will have a procedural bundle, a substantive
bundle and an authority’s bundle. The procedural bundle
includes the statement of case, court orders, witness statements,
experts’ reports and important inter-solicitor correspondence.
The substantive bundle is the most consuming aspect of
preparing trial bundles, as it includes the relevant disclosure
documents in chronological order and a glossary where appropriate. This
is time consuming as it involves the location of all documents which by
the time the case goes to Court may be several years old and unless it
is on a computer will be lost. Organisation is the key element here to
reduce the time taken.
A core bundle is prepared where the substantive bundle is
extensive. This bundle contains the key documents relating to the case.
Pagination is slightly different in the core bundle; it must continue
from the substantive bundle but also have separate core bundle
The authorities bundle is quite simply all the authorities
meaning the statute, case law etc which is to be relied on in court.
draft trial bundle index
When preparing a bundle, a draft trial bundle index must be
created first which can be sent to your opponent and is irresponsible
to do any bundling until the index is approved.
Due to the fact that bundles are a time consuming process and
therefore should be done as soon as possible to avoid missing the due
date. Preparation of the first draft of the trial bundle index should
be prepared as soon as practicable. Often the situation is done by
having a hard copy of both parties’ disclosure lists and manually flag
up any documents that should be included into the bundles.
When the index is ready, it should be sent to counsel for
comments and approval. From here it is sent to the other side of which
time must be allowed for the opponent to properly consider the draft
index. Any requests from the other side may be added at this point, it
is in your best interests to add any sensible requests as it speeds up
the process and the bundles will be created sooner.
Once the index has been agreed, a copy must be retained for
future reference. The column for references may be removed and saved as
a new document. It is also beneficial to adapt the layout to make it
more user friendly for the judge.
Overall, it is important that bundles are finished in advance
of the case however they must be done correctly to avoid any problems
in court, which will not only be detrimental for you but all other
parties dealing with the case.
Written by Michael Coyle
About the Author
Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation,
commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We
are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual
Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the
International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of
Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the
largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website
Follow us @Scopulus_News
Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2014-04-30 11:17:46 in Legal Articles