How to Create a Bundle for a Hearing

Hearing Bundles

For most hearings the court or tribunal will require a hearing bundle to be produced by one of the parties so that the documents needed for that hearing are available at the hearing in a convenient form with page numbers. Every party and the judge are provided with identical copies of the Bundle.

As well as being paginated - having each page numbered consecutively - the Bundle will also have an Index

Despite its name, the Index in a bundle 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 of the start of the section, and there will also be an index at the back listing alphabetically people, places, topics etc. with the page numbers where that person, place, or topic is referred to in the book. The Index of a 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 instead of just listing each section in the bundle it also lists the documents within each section with their page numbers. 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 in the context of hearing bundles.

In the PDF copy of the hearing bundle (eBundle) the Index (table of contents) is hyperlinked so that you can click on any entry in the index and it will take you to the start of the document itself. There will also be PDF bookmarks for each section and for each document.

Different types of hearing and different types of hearing bundle

The main hearing in most court proceedings is called the Trial. In tribunals it is often called something else such as the "final hearing" but the word trial
is a good word to describe it because it involves the testing of the evidence which each side brings to the court or tribunal by, in particular, the cross-examination of witnesses. 

In many court and tribunal proceedings the Trial is the only hearing there is but sometimes there are other shorter hearings in addition to the trial. These shorter hearings do not involve live witnesses but sometimes witness statements are considered at them, not to reach a final conclusion but for some provisional purpose such as to decide whether to grant a temporary order to preserve the status quo until the matter is finally decided at Trial.

Hearing bundles take their names from the type of hearing they are produced for. The bundle for a trial is called Trial Bundle. Shorter hearings are referred to by various names such as an interim application hearing (where one party is asking for an order or direction about temporary relief or about the steps the parties are required to take in preparation for the trial) or a case management hearing (where the court or tribunal is considering in a routine way  - rather than at the behest of a particular party - what directions to give for preparation, but nevertheless wishes to hear arguments about this from the parties before finally deciding) or an appeal hearing (where a party is asking a higher court or tribunal to review the decision of a lower court or tribunal) and the bundle produced for such hearings is referred to as the Application Bundle, or Case Management Bundle, or Appeal Bundle, accordingly.

Preparation of a Trial Bundle is generally more time-consuming than preparation of a bundle for another kind of hearing and requires a greater degree of collaboration between the parties. How to prepare a Trial Bundle is explained here. See below for how to prepare bundles for other types of hearing.

When a contentious hearing is arranged at short notice

Although, for practical reasons, a hearing Bundle is produced by one of the parties, it should contain both documents from the party producing the bundle, and documents from the other party. If the court/tribunal has given directions, or the rules provide, for deadlines by which the other party must serve their documents to be included, then there should be little difficulty in producing the Bundle and sending it to the other party and to the court/tribunal office in good time before the hearing.

But sometimes the other party is not subject to any fixed deadline for serving their documents. For example if one party is applying for an urgent interim injunction to prevent some irreversible action being taken by the other party then the time between the other party being notified of the application, and the hearing, may be very short. In such circumstances, whilst the other party responding to the application might be criticised if they served documents at the very last minute, it might be, given the short time available, unfair for any actual specific deadline for service of documents before the hearing to be imposed on them. In these circumstances the party producing the bundle may have to send the bundle out without it containing documents from the other side but, if this is done, the bundle needs to be constructed in such a way that any late-received documents can be added to it with the minimum of disruption bearing in mind that, in particular, the applicant's barrister and/or the judge may have started to prepare for the hearing making notes using the bundle page numbers.

Contents and layout of the Bundle

This varies considerably depending on the type of case and type of hearing, but, here is an example:     

Index. This will list, with page numbers, each of the sections below and each document within each section. 

A - Application documents

B - Applicant's witness statements

C - Applicant's exhibits

D - Respondent's witness statements

E - Respondent's exhibits

F - Costs Statements

Creating the eBundle

The basic method is that you make a PDF copy, with an appropriate descriptive name (suitable for use in an Index), of each document to be included in the bundle - e.g.:

Application Notice
Draft Order
Witness Statement of John Smith
Exhibit JKS1

and then create the eBundle using PDF software such as PDF X-Change Editor.

If there is a deadline for the other party to serve any documents to be included in the bundle such that you are confident of being able to produce the bundle in its final form, containing all documents, and being able to send it to the other party and to the court/tribunal office in good time before the hearing, then you may decide that the bundle can be created continuously paginated - e.g. from page 1 to page 50. If, on the other hand, documents may need to be added late in the day, it could be created with separate pagination for each section - e.g. section A should be paginated A1, A2, A3, etc. and section B should be paginated B1, B2, B3, etc. so that documents can be added to the end of a section without changing the page numbers of existing pages. If one of the documents included in the bundle is a formal Exhibit which is itself paginated then having separate pagination for each section has the additional advantage that if the exhibit is placed in a section by itself its internal page numbers will match the section page numbers thus making it simple to translate exhibit page number references in witness statements to bundle page numbers.

In making such decisions you should, of course, ensure that you follow any applicable court or tribunal rules and any specific directions given by a judge. On 20 May 2020 the Senior Presiding Judge issued General Guidance on PDF Bundles which states "If a bundle is to be added to after the file has been transmitted to the judge it should not be assumed the judge will accept it as a complete replacement because he/she may already have started to mark up the original. Inquiries should be made of the judge as to what the judge would like to do about it..." (para 12).  

Providing the eBundle 

Send a copy of the eBundle PDF to your barrister and to the other side. 

The court/tribunal may have given specific directions as to how the eBundle PDF is to be provided to the court/tribunal office but, if not, you should provide the eBundle on a USB memory stick. The USB stick should be a brand new USB stick which has not been used before. If you have also been directed to provide a hardcopy Bundle to the court/tribunal office then, in the absence of any other directions as to how the eBundle should be provided, the USB memory stick can be placed in a hole-punched pocket (secured in such a way that it cannot fall out accidentally) at the front on the first volume of the hardcopy Bundle.


Producing the Bundle hardcopy

Create a Title Page as a single page Word document containing the name and number of the case and, in tramlines, the title of the bundle (e.g. "Application Bundle"). This is for the outside of the front cover of the ring binder/lever arch file. Then do the following for each hardcopy you wish to produce:-

1. Using PDF X-Change Editor, open the eBundle PDF and print it in colour ensuring that large documents are printed on the appropriate paper e.g. A3. If you are printing double-sided, ensure that the first page of each section is printed recto. You can do this by printing the index and then printing  each section in turn by Right-clicking on the high-level bookmark for that section, and then selecting Sections - Print

2. Assemble the sheets you have printed together into a pile, folding each A3 or A2 sheet into A4 size

3. Hole punch the sheets and file them in a ring binder (or lever arch file depending on how thick the pile is). In each copy the Bundle Index must be at the beginning followed by the sections in order - make sure that the page numbers are consecutive and that everything listed in the Bundle Index is actually in the bundle.

4. Insert a tab in front of each section. The name written on each tab should be the section letter (A, B, C etc) and the section name abbreviated as necessary to fit on the tab - for example "Applicant w/s" for the Applicant's witness statements. When writing on vertical tabs write down like this




rather than writing across - writing across is more difficult to read and can make Hs look like Is and vice versa. Note that there may be a Respondent's Witness Statements section (or similar) containing no documents. If so, a tab should still be inserted for this section as, because of the limited notice given in some applications, documents may need to be inserted in this section later.

5. Print out the Title Page and insert it into the transparent pocket of the front cover of the ring binder.



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 hearing 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 May 2020. Disclaimer