Bundles - How to Create a Bundle for a Short Hearing


During the months before the final trial or other hearing (at which the judge will decide who wins a case) there may be one or more short hearings and the court or tribunal may require a hearing bundle to be produced containing the documents which will need to be referred to at the hearing (even though the documents will usually have already been filed at court/tribunal). In an Hearing Bundle every page has a page number and the judge and each party at the hearing have identical copies of the Bundle.  

As well as being paginated - having each page numbered consecutively - the Bundle will have an Index at the front. Despite its name, the Index is not like the index of an ordinary book. An ordinary non-fiction book will have a table of contents at the front listing each section or chapter in the order it appears with the page number, and there will also be an index at the back listing alphabetically people, places, topics etc. with the page number where that person, place, or topic is referred to in the book. The Index of a Hearing Bundle is not at all like an alphabetic index that you find at the end of a typical book. It is at the front and is really a table of contents but a bit more detailed than the average table of contents in a book. Why is it called an Index? The word Index is actually an old word for a table of contents, rarely used in this sense now outside the legal context, but this is still its primary meaning when used by lawyers and judges.

Creating the Bundle as a PDF

Use DCS to create the bundle in PDF form. You should ensure that the Tabbed option is ticked for the first document in each section so that in the generated PDF the first page of the first document in each section is always printed on the right hand side so that when the bundle is printed double-sided tabs can be inserted at the start of each section.

Printing out and assembling the Bundle

1. Click the Download Complete Bundle button as shown below to download the Bundle as a PDF. 

2. If you have a suitable fast colour printer which can print double-sided you might choose to print out the bundle PDFs on your own printer or, alternatively, you might use a high street print shop to do this for you. Print the PDF in two or three steps. First of all print the index pages at the beginning of the PDF single-sided. Then print the remaining A4 pages of the PDF double-sided. Then print any A3 (or larger) pages on the correct size paper and either fold them or use a larger binder for them. The bundle must be printed in colour: this is not only because some pages may contain photographs or colour-coded plans but because the page number on every page is in red and red printed in greyscale can be difficult to see.

3. When you have printed out the bundle pages, hole punch them and file them in a lever arch file/ring binder, depending on how many pages there are. 

4.The very first page of the Index PDF might be a title page giving the name and number of the case and the title of the bundle (e.g. Directions Bundle) in tramlines. The first page filed should always be the first page of the Index (i.e. the second page of the PDF if the first page of the PDF is a title page) so that the index can be seen immediately on opening the file without having to turn over a page which merely contains the title of the case.  If there is an initial page containing only the title it is intended to be stuck on the outside of the front cover of the volume, though you can write your own sticky label to put on the front of the volume, containing the same information, if that is easier, rather than use any title page. As well as sticking the title page to the front (or using a sticky label on the front) you should put a sticky label on the outside spine with the case number and case name in large writing. 

5. It will assist the court/tribunal if tabs are inserted in front of each section with the name of the section written on the tab, as illustrated below. Sometimes, at the time a bundle has to be prepared and lodged with the court, documents to be included in it have not been received from the other side. In this case a tab can be added after the last page of the bundle marked e.g. "Respondent documents". A line can then be added to the end of the index saying e.g. "Respondent's documents (to be added)" giving the page number from which the documents, when added, will start.  


6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 above to produce several identical copies of the bundle. Unless the rules or specific directions given by the court or tribunal, require more, for a short hearing before a single judge where no witnesses will be giving live evidence, you generally need one copy for the judge and two copies for each party (one for the party themselves and one for the party's barrister).

Delivering the Bundle

When you deliver a copy of the bundle to the court/tribunal office (whether by post or hand delivery) it should be accompanied by a covering letter giving

  • the name of the case
  • the number of the case
  • the word URGENT and the date and time of the hearing - e.g. "URGENT bundle for hearing at 10.30 on Thursday 17th November 2016"
  • Your name and contact details
If you are sending the bundle by post, you should ensure that it is well padded so that the metal retaining prongs of the lever arch file, or metal rings of the ring binder, are not bent during handling in the post. Once a retaining prong or ring is bent out of position, it is impossible to bend it back into exactly the right position so that the prongs/rings close tightly together, with the annoying result that every time the judge using the file turns over a page, the page catches on the point where the retaining prongs or rings (almost) join. 

Different courts and tribunals have different rules and deadlines, which it is important to meet, and a sanction may be imposed if the bundle is delivered late.

That said, if a deadline is missed it does not always mean disaster and if you have missed a deadline there may be things you can do to mitigate. For example:

  • Generally speaking being slightly late is better than being very late.
  • An important part of the reason for deadlines is so that your opponent has proper time to consider matters. If you are going to miss a deadline, consider whether there is any practical way you can lessen the impact on your opponent. For example if the rules require you to deliver a bundle in paper form and you will not be able to do this on time, if you email a copy to your opponent (and contact them to draw the email copy to their attention) before the deadline, that will lessen the practical disadvantage caused by late delivery of the paper copy and, all other things being equal, the court/tribunal may be less inclined to impose a sanction.     
  • It is better to deliver a bundle containing all required documents slightly late, than to deliver on time a bundle with crucial documents missing.
  • If a document is not crucial it may be better to omit it so that a bundle can be delivered on time. For example if the bundle already contains four reasonably good photographs it would be counterproductive to delay delivery of it a long time after the deadline just so that a fifth photograph, which adds very little, can be included.
  • The reason why bundles are delivered to the court/tribunal office some time in advance of the hearing is so that they can be provided to the judge who will, if time allows, be able to read them in advance. Each court/tribunal office will have administrative procedures which may mean that if a bundle is delivered late - even if only by a few minutes - it may only reach the judge very much later or perhap, even, not at all. If you are late in delivering, therefore, it is worth bringing a further copy to the hearing. Obviously if the judge sees the bundle for the first time at the hearing, that is not good, but it is better than not having a bundle at all.
  • Similarly with delivery of the bundle to the other side. If you are late in delivering, bring another copy to the hearing in case the other side turn up without their copy.         


The information on this page about specific computer techniques is provided for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date at the time it was written but no responsibility for its accuracy, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by me. You should satisfy yourself, before using any of the techniques, software or services described, that the techniques are appropriate for your purposes and that the software or service is reliable.

There is some variation between the procedural requirements of different tribunals and courts for different types of case. The above explanation of procedural rules relating to bundles is only an overview and in order to be reasonably concise I have had to leave some details out - details which are likely to affect what the procedural law would say about your own situation. So please do not rely on the above but contact me for advice.

This page was lasted updated in March 2017. Disclaimer