MORE GUIDANCE ON E-BUNDLES (FROM THE FAMILY COURT): “NO PAGE SHOULD APPEAR UPSIDE DOWN”

The President of the Family Division has issued guidance on E-Bundles  Sup-guidance-E-bundles.  Many of the points made here can provide guidance to civil practitioners.

“No page should appear upside down.”

GUIDANCE ON E-BUNDLES FOR USE IN THE FAMILY COURT AND FAMILY DIVISION

1. This guidance supplements the general guidance on electronic bundles for all
courts issued by the Senior Presiding Judge, the President of the Family Division
and the Judge-in-charge of Live Services on 29 November 2021. That general
guidance is attached to this supplementary guidance and is available online here.
Save as modified in this supplementary guidance, the general guidance applies to
e-bundles for use in all proceedings in the Family Court and the Family Division.

2. The general guidance and this supplementary guidance supersede the Financial
Remedies Courts E-Bundles Protocol dated 3 March 2020.

3. Bundle format and page limit
a. Save as provided below, the general guidance does not modify the
requirements concerning the format of the bundle in family proceedings set
out in in FPR PD27A paras 5.1 – 5.3.
b. Specifically, an e-bundle may only exceed the default limit of 350 pages
provided by PD 27A para 5.1 with the court’s permission.

4. Bundle pagination.
a. Para 2 of the general guidance is temporarily suspended in public law children
proceedings. During the period of suspension further enquiries will be
undertaken to examine the operational and resource consequences of the
general guidance to local authorities and those representing respondents in
public law proceedings. A working group comprising of representatives from
the Judiciary, the FLBA and the ALC has been established to examine the
issues and make recommendations.
b. In public law children cases the bundle should continue to be prepared in
accordance with PD 27A para 4.2. This states:
‘The documents in the bundle shall be arranged in chronological order from
the front of the bundle, paginated individually and consecutively (starting
with page 1 and using Arabic numbering throughout), indexed and divided
into separate sections (each section being separately paginated) …’
c. Unless otherwise directed by the court, for all other family cases (including
financial remedy cases) para 2 of the general guidance should be applied.

Therefore, for such cases the requirement in PD 27A para 4.2 for each section
to be separately paginated should not be followed for an e-bundle. Instead,
sequential singular pagination of the entire bundle, corresponding to the PDF
numbering, should be used in accordance with para 2 of the general guidance.

d. For such cases any additional pages should be dealt with in accordance with
para 10 of the general guidance. They should be placed in a supplemental
section at the end of the bundle, sequentially paginated to follow the last page
number of the original bundle, and appropriately bookmarked. That
supplemental section should have its own hyperlinked index at the front of that
section; the index at the front of the original bundle should not be amended
(to avoid the risk of altering the PDF numbering of the entire bundle.)

e. Unless otherwise directed by the court, the pagination on any page in an ebundle shall not be changed in any later version of an e-bundle in the same proceedings.

5. Bundle index and bookmarking
a. For the period of the suspension referred to in para 4(a) above, the
requirement in the final sentence of para 3 of the general guidance that each
bookmark should contain the page number of the document shall not apply in
public law children cases.
b. Otherwise, para 3 fully applies to all family cases.

6. Core bundles and multiple bundles.

a. A core bundle of key documents under para 7 of the general guidance, and
multiple bundles under para 8, may only be produced in a family case with the
permission of the court.
b. Rather than producing a core e-bundle a better method for identifying key
documents, more conformable with the continuous pagination rule, is to mark
them in the index with an asterisk (or to list them in a separate hyperlinked list
of essential reading placed behind the index).

7. Filing of e-bundles and other documents with the court.

a. For public law children cases proceeding on the public law portal all
documents shall be uploaded to the portal.
b. For private law children cases and public law cases not proceeding on the
public law portal, existing established arrangements for delivery of documents
shall continue to be used.
c. For financial remedy proceedings, where the case is on the Digital Contested
Cases System (DCCS) all documents must be uploaded to the system; where
the case is not on DCCS, documents should be delivered using existing
established arrangements.
d. The above delivery arrangements may be modified in an individual case
pursuant to a direction of the court.

8. The provisions of this guidance do not prevent the parties from agreeing, with the
consent of the court, to use an e-bundle service from a commercial provider.

GENERAL GUIDANCE ON ELECTRONIC COURT BUNDLES

This general guidance is intended to ensure a level of consistency in the provision of electronic
bundles (“e-bundles”) for court hearings (but not tribunal hearings) in a format that promotes
the efficient preparation for, and management of, a hearing. It is subject to any specific
guidance by particular courts or directions given for individual cases. It updates and replaces
previous guidance published in May 2020.
1. E-bundles must be provided in pdf format.
2. All pages in an e-bundle must be numbered by computer-generated numbering, not by
hand. The numbering should start at page 1 for the first page of the bundle (whether or
not that is part of an index) and the numbering must follow sequentially to the last page
of the bundle, so that the pagination matches the pdf numbering. If a hard copy of the
bundle is produced, the pagination must match the e-bundle.
3. Each entry in the index must be hyperlinked to the indexed document. All significant
documents and all sections in bundles must be bookmarked for ease of navigation, with a
short description as the bookmark. The bookmark should contain the page number of the
document.
4. All pages in an e- bundle that contain typed text must be subject to OCR (optical character
recognition) if they have not been created directly as electronic text documents. This
makes it easier to search for text, to highlight parts of a page, and to copy text from the
bundle.
5. Any page that has been created in landscape orientation should appear in that orientation
so that it can be read from left to right. No page should appear upside down.
6. The default view for all pages should be 100%.
7. If a core bundle is required, then a PDF core bundle should be produced complying with
the same requirements as a paper bundle.
8. Thought should be given to the number of bundles required. It is usually better to have a
single hearing e-bundle and (where appropriate) a separate single authorities e-bundle
(compiled in accordance with these requirements), rather than multiple bundles (and
follow any applicable court specific guidance – see e.g. CPR PD52C Section VII).
9. The resolution of the bundle should not be greater than 300 dpi, in order to avoid slow
scrolling or rendering. The bundle should be electronically optimised so as to ensure that
the file size is not larger than necessary.
10. If a bundle is to be added to after it has been transmitted to the judge, then new pages
should be added at the end of the bundle (and paginated accordingly). An enquiry should
be made of the court as to the best way of providing the additional material. Subject to
any different direction, the judge should be provided with both (a) the new section and,
separately, (b) the revised bundle. This is because the judge may have already marked up
the original bundle.

Delivering e-bundles
Filename: The filename for a bundle must contain the case reference and a short version of the
name of the case and an indication of the content of the bundle – e.g. “CO12342021 Carpenters
v Adventurers Hearing Bundle” or “CO12342021 Carpenters v Adventurers Authorities Bundle”.
Email: If the bundle is to be sent by email, please ensure the file size is not too large. For
justice.gov e-mail addresses the maximum size of email and attachments is 36Mb in aggregate.
Anything larger will be rejected. The subject line of the email should contain the case number,
short form case name, hearing date and name of judge (if known).
Uploading bundles: Bundles should be sent to the court in accordance with the court’s directions.
Where the bundle would otherwise be sent by email (rather than being uploaded to a portal) but
is too large to be sent under cover of a single email then it may be be sent to the Document Upload
Centre by prior arrangement with the court – for instructions see the Professional Users Guide.

Unrepresented litigants

Ordinarily the applicant is responsible for preparing the court bundles. If the applicant is
unrepresented then the bundles must still if at all possible, comply with the above requirements.
If it is not possible for an unrepresented litigant to comply with the requirements then a brief
explanation of the reasons for this should be provided to the court as far in advance of the hearing
as possible. Where possible the litigant in person should suggest a practical way of overcoming
the problem. If the other party is represented then that party should consider offering to prepare
the bundle.

Other internet guidance
There is guidance available freely available on the internet on how to use software to create
bundles. See, for example, this YouTube video, prepared by QEB, and this video prepared by St
Philips Chambers.
Lord Justice Haddon-Cave Sir Andrew Mcfarlane Mr Justice Johnson
Senior Presiding Judge President of the Family Division Judge-in-charge of Live
Services
29 November 2021