Earlier today I reported on a comment from the Court of Appeal that it did not help for authorities to be placed in alphabetical order.  I commented on the absence of clear guidance.  Here we look at the views from the lawyers on Twitter.  However, before we look at that it is worth noting that, despite the protestations of the Court of Appeal this morning, the Supreme Court Practice Direction (6) states precisely that. “The authorities should appear in alphabetical order…”

“Followers: increase your Twitter activity by (a) making an original and witty comment on the state of the nation or (b) (recommended) tweet about court bundles”



6.5.1 A joint set of authorities, jointly produced, should be compiled for the appeal. This set should include a primary volume, agreed between Counsel for the parties, containing those legislative provisions and caselaw authorities to which frequent reference is likely to be made during oral argument. Seven sets of the primary volume, and three copies of all other volumes of authorities, should be filed in hard copy (15) at the same time as the core volumes referred to in paragraph 6.4.3. All these authorities must also be filed electronically and included in the electronic bundle prepared for the hearing in accordance with Practice Direction 14 (16). Respondents should arrange with the appellants for the delivery to them of such volumes of authorities as the respondents’ counsel and solicitors require. The following paragraphs give guidance on the arrangement and order of the volumes but where the parties consider that a different order or arrangement would be of greater assistance to the Court, that order or arrangement should be adopted (17).
Form and content of authorities volumes
6.5.2 The authorities should appear in alphabetical order in the primary volume as well as in other bundles or categories within bundles. The primary volume should include an index to all authorities in all the volumes of authorities, and, where there is a large number of volumes, this index should also be reproduced separately. Every volume of authorities other than the primary volume should contain an index of its own contents. (The indexes must be included in the pagination) (18).
6.5.3 Authorities should (where appropriate) be further divided into the categories: domestic, Strasbourg, foreign and academic material. Where the parties consider that a different order or arrangement would be of greater assistance to the Court, that order or arrangement should be adopted. The volumes of authorities should
  1. be A4 size reproduced as one page per view (with any authorities smaller than A4 being enlarged);
  2. [separate each authority by numbered dividers] (19);
  3. contain an index to that volume; the first volume must also contain an index to all the volumes;
  4. be numbered consecutively on the cover and spine with numerals at least point 72 in size for swift identification of different volumes during the hearing;
  5. have printed clearly on the front cover the title of the appeal and the names of the solicitors for all parties;
  6. have affixed to the spine a sticker indicating clearly the volume number in Arabic numerals and short title of the appeal.
Where an authority or other document extends to many pages, only those pages that are relevant to the appeal should be copied. In cases where it is necessary to cite substantial members of Strasbourg authorities, the Court should be provided with an agreed Scott schedule: see Lord Reed’s judgment in R (Faulkner) [2013] UKSC 23 at paragraphs 99 to 103. (20)
6.5.4 Copies of cases that have been reported should be of the case as reported in the Law Reports or Session Cases, failing which copies of the case as reported in other recognised reports should be provided. In Revenue appeals, copies of the case as reported in the Tax Cases or Simon’s Tax Cases may be provided, but references to any report of the case in the Law Reports or Session Cases should be included when the case is listed in the index. Unreported copies of the judgment should only be included if the case has not been reported in any of the recognised reports.
6.5.5 The Court has on numerous occasions criticised the over-proliferation of authorities. It should be understood that not every authority that is mentioned in the parties’ printed cases need be included in the volumes of authorities. They should include only those cases that are likely to be referred to during the oral argument or which are less accessible because they have not been reported in the Law Reports.
6.5.6 All the volumes (21) of authorities should be filed in the Registry, preferably in separate containers from the core volumes.
6.5.7 In order to produce the volumes of authorities, parties may download text from electronic sources; but the volumes of authorities must be filed in paper form. Where online versions of textbooks or academic authorities are used, the front sheet or first page must be included so that the date of the relevant edition and other such information is provided (22). See Practice Direction 14 for provisions in relation to electronic volumes.
6.5.8 In certain circumstances (for example, when during the hearing it becomes apparent that a particular authority is needed but is not in the volumes of authorities), the Supreme Court Library can arrange for copies of authorities to be made available at the hearing. Parties must themselves provide ten copies of any other authority or of unreported cases. They must similarly provide copies of any authority of which notice has not been given.
6.5.9 The cost of preparing the volumes of authorities falls to the appellants, but is ultimately subject to the decision of the Court as to the costs of the appeal.



One useful thing we can learn from the very short hearings in today (this is for you ): don’t put bundles of authorities in alphabetical order!

Surely everyone puts them in some kind of chronological order… with sections for cases, Statutes and other

With whom I disagree incidentally.

I usually go with the order in which they appear in my skelly. (No not belly, autocorrect. I see you.)

Me too. Or by reference to my perception of importance of the same

Or grouped by topics/argument and then chronological so the way the law developed is easier to see.

Yes, chronological for goodness sake. When since did the law develop alphabetically!

Case dates for me. Separate sections for statutes, SIs, other stuff. All chronological. But could just follow skelly as a reasonable not-alphabetical-ffs option.

In my experience the only court that really has it sorted (with a coherent system that enables use of paper or electronic at the choice of the user) is the Supreme Court.

Bundles should be in emoji order starting with 😐 and ending with 😢