Financial Remedies Courts – e-bundles protocol

Have you seen the latest guidance on  e-bundles protocol within financial remedies court as released by The Hon Mr Justice Mostyn ?

  1. The Financial Remedies Courts Good Practice Protocol of 7 November 2019 states at para 18 that “the FRCs will endeavour to adopt environmentally friendly processes. For example, where possible, parties will be encouraged to conduct hearings on a paperless basis”.
  2. FPR PD27A para 2.5 permits the use of e-bundles in a hearing before a High Court judge with that judge’s permission and in other cases or classes of case as have been approved by the Designated Family Judge for the relevant area with the agreement of the President of the Family Division and in accordance with the local arrangements.
  3. The necessary approvals and agreements for the use, in principle, of e-bundles in FRC Zones have been obtained and local arrangements are being established.
  4. Where an e-bundle is to be used the following technical requirements should be observed:
    (a) PDF format is to be used;
    (b) All documents are to be contained, if possible, within one single PDF file;
    (c) The PDF file must be searchable;
    (d) Pagination must be computer generated within the PDF, not hand-written
    (i) Original pagination must be by section and page number i.e. A1, A2, A3…. B1, B2, B3 etc;
    (ii) Insertions, after compilation of the original bundles, should be using ‘legal’ numbering (e.g. B13.1, B13.2, B 13.3 to be inserted between B13 and B14);
    (e) Each section of the bundle, and each individual document referenced in the index, should be separately bookmarked.
  5. The e-bundle should be delivered via a cloud-based link (e.g. iCloud, OneDrive, Dropbox or Google Drive) rather than in a series of emails.
  6. It is acceptable for a hearing to be partly paperless. For example, in a routine financial remedy case involving oral evidence it will be commonplace for a witness to work from a paper bundle, while the judge and counsel are paperless.
  7. Nothing in this Protocol limits the parties from agreeing, with the consent of the court, to use an e-bundle service from a commercial provider.

Guidance has been given on how to prepare and amend such a bundle see this YouTube video.