BUNDLES: CIVIL CASES IN THE FAMILY DIVISION: COMPLY WITH THE RULES

In Re XY [2019] EWHC 1610 (Fam) Mr Justice Williams made it clear that all cases heard in the Family Division are subject to the Division rules relating to bundles.

“For applications such as those under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 and other applications which are heard in the Family Division but are subject to the Civil Procedure Rules,the parties should comply with FPR PD27A in the preparation of bundles for hearings taking place in the High Court”

THE CASE

The court was hearing an action under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975.  A bundle of documents had been lodged by the claimant’s solicitors. That bundle did not contain a case summary, chronology, list of issues, or list of essential reading.

THE JUDGE’S OBSERVATIONS ON THE ABSENCE OF THE SUMMARY, CHRONOLOGY AND OTHER ESSENTIAL DOCUMENTATION

“2. Upon making further enquiry with counsel in the case, the explanation was that pursuant to CPR 57.15 the claim could be issued in the Family Division but nonetheless the Civil Procedure Rules would apply. CPR 39.5 and CPR PD39A provide for a Trial Bundle including a case summary and/or chronology where appropriate. The Notes to the CPR in the White Book say that specific reference
should be made to the QBD Guide and the Chancery Guide for preparation of bundles in those divisions but no reference is made to the preparation of bundles in the Family Division.

3. FPR PD27A has been refined over the years to promote the efficient dispatch ofbusiness in the Family Division. PD4B of the Court of Protection Rules 2017 is drafted in similar terms for similar reasons. For applications such as those under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependents) Act 1975 and other applications which are heard in the Family Division but are subject to the Civil Procedure Rules,  the parties should comply with FPR PD27A in the preparation of bundles for hearings taking place in the High Court. Given these sorts of applications are less frequently
encountered in the Family Division, the need for the preliminary documents required by PD27A is, if anything, even greater. I note that Holman J in Seagrove v Sullivan [2014] EWHC 4110 (Fam) made similar comments in relation to applications under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996.
4. This judgment is issued with the knowledge and approval of the President of the Family Division.”