A WORD ABOUT BUNDLES: MORE VIEWS FROM THE BENCH: RULES APPLY TO JUDICIAL REVIEW TOO
The article I wrote on trial bundles remains one of the most visited posts on this blog. It is always one of the most visited posts each working day. Proper preparation can make a major different to the efficient running of a trial. This extends to actions for judicial review.
BUNDLES NEEDED TO BE IN SHIP SHAPE FORM
The issue was brought to mind by a tweet today by Jon Lord setting out a passage in the judgment of His Honour Jeremy Richardson QC the judicial review case of R (Riley)-v- Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 4407 (Admin). This is not a new case, but an important point is made. The case had been compromised on the morning and the judge did not give a judgment, however he made some trenchant observations about the bundle and documentation generally:-
- Before parting with this case I wish to say a word of two about the bundles. They are not in a ship shape form. It was unfortunate that following the oral hearing before His Honour Judge Kaye QC the usual directions relating to bundles were not appended to that order as, for example, they would have been had it been a written decision to grant permission. However, the fact that there was no direction on the face of an order does not obviate the need for the parties to comply with CPR Part 54 and the practice direction relating to bundles. There has been, so it seems to me, an abject failure to comply with paragraphs 15 and 16 of practice direction 54A relating to judicial review. I shall say no more about it. No-one is seeking any order as to costs today. It has been agreed that there should be no order as to costs up to today, but if this case is to be restored before the court at any later stage, there shall be a fully comprehensive bundle in accordance with the rules of court. Had this case proceeded as a full application today and not have been compromised in the way that it very sensibly has, there would have been very significant problems for the court in proceeding in the way that it should, for the skeleton arguments have been put together very late, the bundle is by no means complete and the court has been very considerably disadvantaged. I spent a not inconsiderable amount of time over the preceding weekend trying to sort out what was relevant and what was not and the court has been deluged with additional material yesterday which officials have endeavoured to put into the bundle. I am still now not convinced that everything is in its right place. Fortunately, this case has, as I have indicated, been sensibly resolved as a result of the court’s invitation and suggestion. I simply add that the one thing that did leap out at me from what I had read of these papers is that there seemingly was a gap in relation to the psychiatric aspect of the case. I shall say no more, but if this case is to be restored it will be restored in a ship shape form, and woe betide anybody who does not comply with that maritime framed direction.
SO GET THE BUNDLES IN TIME AND IN THE RIGHT FORM
I was involved in a trial last week where the District Judge, upon receiving the bundles, made an order that the solicitor attend the court and put the bundles in the form required by the Practice Direction (in default of attending the action was to be struck out). This was probably a proportionate response. The number of bundles was reduced from three to one. The trial went ahead. (The vast majority of documents in the bundles were, of course, never referred to. )