DCS - How to Create a Trial Bundle

IMPORTANT This information page is designed to be used by clients of John Antell who are to be represented by him at a civil trial in a court or tribunal. It is intended to be used only by clients who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services by John Antell and only in conjunction with specific advice to the individual client about their individual case. This information page should not be used by, or relied on, by anyone else. If you are not currently a client of John Antell you may want to obtain a quotation for representation at a forthcoming trial.

What is a Trial Bundle?

When there is a trial in a civil court or tribunal, the court/tribunal will refer to documents arranged in a Trial Bundle which is produced by one of the parties - usually the party bring the proceedings who, depending on the court/tribunal, may be called the Claimant or Applicant. In a Trial Bundle every page has a page number and the judge and each party at the hearing have identical copies of the Trial Bundle (if it is a tribunal with more than one judge or a judge and lay assessors/tribunal members then each will need a copy). There will be a further copy of the Trial Bundle in the witness box. When a witness is asked to look at a particular page in the copy of the bundle in the witness box, the parties and the judge can easily and quickly refer to the same page in their bundles. 

As well as being paginated - having each page numbered consecutively - the Trial 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 Trial 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 is more detailed than the table of contents in the average book because it lists every document, not merely every section, in the Trial Bundle, with its page number. 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.

Typical arrangement of sections in a Trial Bundle

It is usual to arrange a Trial Bundle in the following sections:

The Index at the start will list every document in the Trial Bundle, giving the date of the document, a brief description, and the page number. The purpose of the Index is, of course, to enable judges and lawyers to quickly find a document they are looking for, but, because the index is large, it is also important that the documents are arranged in the bundle in logical order so that the index (which, of course, lists them in the same order) is easy to use - i.e. it should be possible to guess roughly where a document is likely to appear in the index so that, in most instances, it is not necessary to search all the way though a long index. 

Pleadings - otherwise known as "statements of case".  These are the documents drafted by each party's barrister which set out concisely, and often in a technical legal manner, what each party alleges. In different types of tribunal or court case the pleadings may have different names such as Claim Form, Particulars of Claim, Defence and Counterclaim, etc. or simply Claimant's Statement of Case. These would generally be in chronological order within this section.

Orders. These are written decisions made by the court/tribunal about, for example, how the parties are to prepare for the hearing, for example whether a party may use an expert report, and by what date documents and witness statements are to be provided by one party to another. Orders would be in chronological order within this section.

Witness Statements. These are not arranged chronologically but rather the witness statements of the Claimant's witnesses (usually the Claimant's own statement first and then the Claimant's other witnesses in alphabetical order of witness name or some other convenient order) are together, followed by the witness statements of the Defendant's witnesses. If there are two or more witness statements from the same witness to be included in the trial bundle they should appear one after the other, the earlier one first. 

NOTICES for VIDEOS and AUDIO files. This section name is in CAPITALs to draw attention to the fact that, in addition to the pages in the bundle itself, there is video/audio evidence. Where video and/or audio files are to be used at trial, normally a formal Notice has to be served by the party relying on them, and such Notices are stored in this section. If formal Notices are not required to be served, then a note should be stored in this section listing the audio and video files and stating where they are - e.g. on a USB Drive in a plastic pocket on the following page.  

Other Notices about Evidence. Any other Notices about evidence which have been served - for example a Notice where a party does not admit the authenticity of a document the other party wishes to rely on. 

Photographs. Photographs, generally in chronological order. 
Other Documentary Evidence. This is often the largest part of the Trial Bundle and consists of documents which came into existence in the ordinary course of events in the past such as letters, purchase orders, invoices, written agreements, emails etc. which tend to prove or disprove a party’s case on an issue in dispute, usually arranged chronologically within a single section regardless of the document type, whether contract, purchase order, invoice, letter, email etc. so that the historical sequence of events can be appreciated. Sometimes photographs are also included in chronological sequence in this section (rather than in a separate section): it often depends on whether the photos show a series of changes over time which relate to other documents or whether they show an essentially static situation. Occasionally it may be appropriate to have some separate sections for particular groups of documents, for example if the case requires a complete collection of bank statements over a number of years, or a large number of title deeds for a particular property. 

Within this section duplication should be avoided so if, for example, two identical copies of a letter written from one party to another have been previously disclosed (one copy disclosed by each party) only one copy should be included in this section (unless they are different - e.g. with one containing a significant annotation). 

Exhibits should not appear in this section, just the individual documents themselves. The reason for this is that Exhibits often contain more than one document - e.g. selected emails and letters - and even if  they appear (as they generally should) within the Exhibit in chronological order, there will be other documents to be included in the Other Documentary Evidence section whose dates are later than the earliest document in the Exhibit but earlier than the latest document in the Exhibit, so that if the whole Exhibit were to be inserted in the Other Documentary Evidence section it would mean that the section would no longer be chronological, which it should be. 

Expert Reports. Reports by experts such as (depending what the case is about) engineers, surveyors, or surgeons.            

Exhibits. This section contains Exhibits referred to in any of the above witness statements.

Most of the time it should not be necessary to refer to this section because a copy of every document contained in an Exhibit should be in one of the chronological sections (e.g. Photos or Other Documentary Evidence) and it should be possible to tell, when looking at a witness statement. which document is being referred to without actually looking at the Exhibit itself. For example if the witness statement says I wrote to him on 4 July 2017 pointing this out but in his reply letter dated 17 September 2017 he refused to do anything about it. I refer to a this correspondence marked Exhibit JJS4 then the two letters dated 4 July 2017 and 17 September 2017 can be found by date in the chronological sections without actually having to look at Exhibit JJS4 in the Exhibits section. 

Similarly if a witness statement says The same day I took a photo of the damage with my phone. I refer to the photo taken at 13.52.21 on 16 August 2018 marked Exhibit JJS2 and the photo in the chronological sections has Exif data (including date and time taken) printed it is not necessary to consult the Exhibits section in order to establish what photograph is being referred to.  

However occasionally it may be necessary to refer to the Exhibits section if there is any doubt as to what document is being referred to in a witness statement which refers to exhibits. It is not necessary, however, for documents in the Exhibits section which are actually greater than A4 size to be printed greater than A4 size. The copy of the document in the chronological sections will be printed in its actual size - A3, A2 etc. - but the copy in the All Exhibits section can be printed A4 as it is only required for identification purposes. 

The Exhibits section normally appears as the last section of the Trial Bundle and it is good practice to add a note to the title of the Exhibits section saying Note: copies of all documents in the following Exhibits are in the chronological sections above so that someone using the Trial Bundle is aware that the Exhibits section only needs to be consulted if there is any doubt which document is being referred to in a witness statement. To reduce (ideally to zero) the number of times it is necessary to consult the Exhibits section the court/tribunal rules/guidance might require all references to documents in witness statements to be marked (in the right hand margin of the witness statement) with a link to the page of each letter, email, photo etc. within the chronological sections (see for example Chancery Guide paragraph 21.39). In some cases it might even be agreed (in writing) by the parties that, because the links are accurate and so comprehensive, the Exhibits section can be completely omitted from the Trial Bundle but if that step is taken, as a precaution a separate bundle containing all Exhibits should be available if needed at trial.   

Below is an example of a Trial Bundle bundle index - the first page of the bundle.

Creating a Trial Bundle PDF

If you have engaged me to advise and draft documents in earlier stages of the litigation process then you should, when you get to the stage of contemplating producing the Trial Bundle, have a DCS case named Complete set of Case Documents for Trial created using the Caselines Digital Court System.

As explained above, duplication should be avoided within the Other Documentary Evidence section of the Trial Bundle. When you create the Trial Bundle PDF using the DCS case, you can leave documents out of the Trial Bundle (for example if they are duplicates or if neither party requires them to be included) by selectively unticking the Included box for those documents not to be included but, because the decision about what documents to include involves collaboration with the other side, and because they may be inefficient and things may run up to the wire, it is useful to have in the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case every document which the other side might legitimately want to have included in the Trial Bundle. You can initially untick those documents you believe are not required but if the other side informs you that they require some to be included you can easily tick them again before the final Trial Bundle is generated and distributed.  

Check that every document which needs to be printed as A3 has the characters A3 at the end of the document title. DCS generates a bundle PDF with all pages as A4 irrespective of the page size of documents when loaded to DCS so you need the characters A3 to appear in the generated bundle index, for documents which are A3, to remind you to print them on A3 paper.   

Also check the Bundle setting in the DCS case and set them as follows:

Page Number Position in the Bundle - Right
Page Stamping Colour - Red
Section Numbering Restarts in the Bundle - ticked
Display Document Dates in the Index - ticked 
Display Section Numbers in the Index - ticked
Include Front Page and Index in Complete Bundle - ticked
Include Front Pages and Indexes in each Section - unticked

Agreeing the content of the Trial Bundle with the other side

The Trial Bundle must contain all evidence which the judge will be asked to consider during the trial. Some people think that they can bring along to the trial copies of other documentary evidence as well but this idea is quite wrong. All copies of documentary evidence to be used at the trial must be in the trial bundle (the court/tribunal might require you to bring the original documents, for which there are copies in the trial bundle, as well but you can't rely on an original document if a copy is not in the trial bundle). If you discover at the last minute that something has been accidentally missed out of the trial bundle then the court/tribunal might give you special permission to use it but equally it might refuse or there might be a costs penalty so make sure every piece of evidence you want the judge to look at is in the Trial Bundle. 

There are some documents which may be prepared by barristers to supplement their oral argument about the facts or the law which might be loose and not be included in the trial bundle such as Skeleton Arguments, Chronologies, Case Summaries, Lists of Issues, and legal authorities (statutes and decided cases which establish legal precedents). Also any "without prejudice except as to costs" (or "without prejudice", "Calderbank" or "Part 36") offers or responses must not be in the trial bundle because the judge must not see these at least not until after the judge has given judgement (decided who wins). In addition there may be schedules showing the legal costs (e.g. barrister fees and court/tribunal fees) with supporting invoices attached, which a party has incurred and which the judge does not need to consider until, after judgment, a party (usually the winner) applies for a costs order - these may be just stapled or a party may produce a separate Costs Bundle. But none of these documents are evidence for the trial. Any documents which are evidence relied on by a party to prove its case at trial must be in the Trial Bundle.       

The court/tribunal rules, or the court's/tribunal's order, will require the parties to co-operate in the production of the trial bundle. One party (normally the Claimant) has the responsibility for actually producing and delivering the bundle in the required number of copies, but that party should ask the other party, in good time, what documents they wish to be included, and the other party should respond in good time. 

The general rule is that any document which either side wishes to be included in the Trial Bundle should be included, neither side having a veto. However there are some circumstances in which a party may object to the inclusion of a document which the other party wishes to be included. For example "without prejudice except as to costs" offers made by one party, but not accepted by the other, should not be included because the whole purpose of the "without prejudice except as to costs" offer system, which is sanctioned by the rules, is that parties should be encouraged to make settlement offers without being concerned that the judge hearing the case will see the "without prejudice except as to costs" offer before the judge has decided who has won (some types of offer cannot be seen by the judge even after judgment). It is unlikely that there will be a dispute about the principle that "without prejudice" or "without prejudice except as to costs" offer documents should not be included, but sometimes there can be a dispute about whether a particular document really is a "without prejudice" offer (the presence of absence of the actual words "without prejudice" is not always conclusive). If there is a genuine dispute of this nature about a document, normally the parties agree not to initially include the disputed document but to take sufficient (hole punched) copies to the trial so that they can be inserted or not depending on the judge's ruling. Therefore any such genuinely disputed document would not be included in the Trial Bundle initially.  

Another circumstance where a dispute can arise is where a party wishes to include a document which has not previously been "disclosed". Normally court/tribunal directions require the parties, at an early stage in the litigation process, to produce disclosure lists, listing all the documents they will use (or might want to use) at trial, and the rules provide that a party cannot subsequently insist on a document being included in a trial bundle unless it is a document which appears on either party's disclosure list (or is a formal document which has been served such as pleadings, or witness statements, or is inter partes correspondence). Permission must be sought from the court/tribunal to include such a document if the other side objects

Generally a trial bundle should only contain relevant documents because large numbers of irrelevant documents waste the court's/tribunal's time. If they other side ask you to include a few documents which you consider irrelevant then they should be included - there is no point querying it if there are only a few and there are no other reasons to object apart from irrelevance. But if the other side ask you to include a large number of documents you think are completely irrelevant it is worth querying with them (in writing) why they think they are relevant. Your query may prompt them to reconsider. Ultimately if they insist of the documents being included they should be, but if the judge, at the trial, makes a criticism of the fact that a large number of irrelevant documents have been included in the bundle, and requires to know which party was responsible so that an appropriate sanction (such as an adverse costs order) can be made, you will be able to show from the correspondence that they were included at the insistence of the other party. 

If it is logistically impossible for you to include in the Trial Bundle all the documents requested by the other side - e.g. because they have requested, right at the last minute, that a huge number of documents be included -  you may have to decline to do so and then the other party may have to produce their own supplementary bundle, in the required number of copies, to be used by the court/tribunal alongside the main trial bundle. This is, however, very much a last resort because documents should be arranged in logical sequence in a trial bundle and having some documents in the main trial bundle and other documents in a supplementary bundle means the sequence of documents may not be as easy to follow. Courts/tribunals expect the parties to co-operate in advance so that no supplementary bundle is needed.

It is important, therefore, that you, the bundle-producing party, should send to the other party, in good time before the trial at which the Trial Bundle will be used, a draft copy of the Trial Bundle PDF so that the contents can be agreed. The page numbers in the draft Trial Bundle are bound to be different from the page numbers which will be in the final Trial Bundle (when that is produced after further documents requested by the other side have been added) and it is important that the other side realise this and there is no misunderstanding so, before you produce the draft Trial Bundle, you should change the section letters of each section to include the words DRAFT. So change section "A" to "DRAFT A", section "B" to "DRAFT B" etc. so that the word DRAFT appears next to every page number.     

Because the Trial Bundle PDF will be large special methods are needed to send it by email.  

You could produce, as a first step, a Trial Bundle containing only the documents you require in the bundle (by unticking the Included box for all other documents) and invite the other party to specify what further documents they require to be included (which can then be ticked). However usually you will have a good idea what documents the other party is likely to require (every document specifically referred to in the statements of the other side’s witnesses will be needed, for example) and it is easier, logistically, to initially include in the Trial Bundle all the documents you require plus all the documents you think the other party is likely to require, and the other party can then be requested to confirm whether there are any further documents they require to be included (if there is a large run of documents which you have included only because of an assumption that the other party is likely to require them, then you can, at the same time, ask the other party to confirm that they do indeed require them).

Because, at an earlier stage, you will have loaded into the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case all the documents disclosed by the other side (as well as all documents you disclosed) and all documents such as pleadings and witness statements formally served in the proceedings,  if the other side asks for a document to be included, and when you look for the document (in the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case) to tick the Included box for the Trial Bundle you find that the document is not there, and the document is not an item of inter partes correspondence, this, on the face of it, means that the document the other side wish to include has never been disclosed and so they are not entitled to have it included but, before you get back to them saying this, double check your records to make sure that you have not made a mistake (e.g. by omitting to load into the DCS case a document which was actually on their disclosure list).  

As you are responsible for producing the Trial Bundle you need to make a plan with deadlines for

1. When you will be sending the first draft of the Trial Bundle, in PDF form, to the other side.

2. When the other side need to get back to you with a request for any further documents to be added

3. When you will send the Trial Bundle in it final form in hardcopy to the other side.

The court/tribunal may have given directions specifying the deadlines for 1, 2 and 3, but often the court/tribunal will only specify the deadline for 3 and leave the parties to agree the logistics of agreeing the Trial Bundle and the deadlines for 1 and 2. To the extent that the court/tribunal has not set deadlines for the process of producing the Trial Bundle, you, if you are the party responsible for producing the Trial Bundle, need to plan the deadlines. The court/tribunal expects the parties to co-operate so you should show some flexibility but you need to take the lead in (politely) proposing deadlines and not letting matters slide. So, for example, 8 weeks before the date of the trial, you could send an email to the other side saying

As the Claimant with primary responsibility for producing the Trial Bundle, I plan to send you a draft in about 2 weeks time, that is to say by [date]. I will be using computer software to produce it so I will be able to send you a complete draft bundle (and not merely an index) in PDF form for your comments/agreement. I would suggest that we set a deadline of 2 weeks later - i.e. [date] for you to get back to me with any request for any further documents (which, of course, can only be documents already disclosed) to be included. I would then plan to provide you with the Trial Bundle in its final form (in both hardcopy and PDF form) not later than two weeks before the start of the trial.   

In this example you should have 2 weeks, after the other side has confirmed what documents they wish to be included, to produce the final bundle which should be more than adequate, but giving yourself ample time, in this way, allows for the unexpected. For example, normally you will have already included all the documents you want to be included and you will be just waiting for the other side to identify any extra document they wish to be included, but occasionally once the other side have identified what documents they wish to have included that might prompt you to decide that there are further documents you wish to include so that you then need to send them a further draft bundle including both the documents they want to include and the extra documents you now want to include. Normally this does not happen but there are some circumstances in which it could. For example, say there is some correspondence - say a total of 20 emails/letters going back and forwards over the course of a month - about three years ago. It might be that you take the view that, taken as a whole, that correspondence shows very little of relevance and, with all the other evidence you have, you do not think it is worth including. If the other side requires those 20 emails/letters to be included, then fine. But it might happen that the other side ask for just 2 letters out of the 20 emails/letters to be included, and that those 2 letters give a skewed impression. For example, perhaps someone has written a letter and then immediately follows up with an email explaining that there was a mistake in the letter: if your opponent wanted to include just the letter, you might then want to include the email explaining the error or, perhaps, even all of the 20 letters/emails, so that a misleading impression is not created of the correspondence as a whole.         

Once agreement on bundle contents is reached, the final trial bundle can be produced. It is vitally important that everyone - the judge, the parties, and their barristers - have identical copies of the bundle with identically numbered pages, and that it is this final trial bundle's page numbers which are used by barristers when, for example, making notes and skeleton arguments in preparation for the trial, so, to avoid any confusion, it is good practice, when initially making available to the other side the draft bundle in PDF form, to emphasise that it is a draft and that the page numbers of documents in the final bundle will be, or may be, different.

The DCS system allows you to grant read access to the other side to the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case so that they can log on and view documents directly (even before you send them a draft bundle PDF) and doing this may make things easier for everyone but, before you grant the other side view access, consider the following points.

1. It goes without saying that privileged documents (documents the other side are not entitled to see and which you don't want them to see - such as legal advice) should not be loaded to the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case. If the other side has read access they can see anything loaded (and will normally be automatically notified when anything new is loaded) so if you load something you should not, then realise what you have done and delete it not long afterwards, the other side might already have seen it. So be extra careful if you have given them read access.

2. Not everyone will be familiar with the DCS system or be interested in using it. Court/tribunals generally encourage parties to make use of information technology to save time and expense but you may be criticised if you show insufficient flexibility by effectively forcing the other side to use some system which they do not want to use (and which is not a system which the court/tribunal rules require everyone to use). So providing, or at least offering to provide, a draft bundle in an everyday format, such as PDF, is recommended even if you also provide read access to the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case.

3. The court/tribunal orders may actually require you to provide a draft bundle index to the other side by a particular date and, if so, you do have to do that even if you are effectively providing the same information by giving the other side read access to the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case. See here for how to create just an index.
4. Even if the court/tribunal has not actually made orders which mandate a draft bundle index being sent, there are advantages in doing so even if you have already effectively provided the same information by giving the other side read access to the Complete set of Case Documents for Trial DCS case. Sometimes there are disputes, at the trial, over the process of production of the trial bundle. For example the other side might say that they they thought a document was going to be included. If you have provided a draft bundle - or at least a draft bundle index - and have kept a copy of that and the accompanying correspondence it should be possible to establish, one way or the other, what happened, whereas if you did not provide a draft bundle index (or haven't kept a copy of it) and are relying on what was or was not in a DCS case and/or what documents were ticked as Included at a particular point of time in the past when the other side might have looked at it, it is much more difficult to establish what happened.           

If the other side will not co-operate

If you plan ahead and make contact with the other side in good time, the process of agreeing what should be in the Trial Bundle should be relatively smooth, but if the other side delay telling you which documents they wish to see included you may be faced with a dilemma. You do not want to wait forever and risk not allowing yourself sufficient time to produce and deliver copies of the trial bundle on time, but, on the other hand, you do not want to be criticised by the court/tribunal, later on, for showing insufficient flexibility resulting in inconvenience at the trial if the other side ends up having to produce its own supplementary bundle containing documents you have omitted.  

If you are in this situation the first thing to do is to count up how many extra pages of documents there are not so far included in the Photos and Other Documentary Evidence sections of the bundle which the other side could, theoretically, ask to be included. Look at each document which does not have the Included box ticked and check whether or not it is a duplicate of another document which already has the Included box ticked. Add up the number of pages of all unticked documents which are not duplicates. This is the maximum number of extra pages which the other side could theoretically ask to be included (apart from documents you have disclosed but decided not to rely on which the other side could also ask to be included, and inter partes correspondence). If this number is a small proportion - say less than 10% -  of the total number of pages already included in the bundle you might decide to take the initiative and add to the bundle all the extra documents which the other side could possibly ask you to include because, at the end of the day, the court/tribunal would probably prefer having a single bundle containing a limited number of unnecessary documents, but with all documents in order, rather than having the possibility of being presented with a late-produced supplementary bundle in addition to the main bundle. Of course having even 10% extra unnecessary pages is not ideal and you should make sure that you have a paper trail of correspondence, which you can, if necessary, show to the court/tribunal demonstrating that you only took the step of including the extra documents because the other side's repeated failure to engage in time risked an unacceptable delay in the production of copies of the trial bundle.

Purchase the stationery you will need

As well as paper you will need lever arch files, ring binders, and blank cardboard tabs. Work out how many you will need and purchase them (and a few extras to be on the safe side) in good time.

Although it is referred to as "a bundle", the Trial Bundle will consist of at least two, and may be more, volumes in lever arch files and/or ring binders. A lever arch file can contain 300 sheets and a ring binder 100 sheets, comfortably. To work out how many of each type of binder you will need, and plan how you are going to arrange the sections in the volumes using the following rules:

Witness statements must be in a different volume from the documentary evidence. This is very important. This is so that when a witness is giving evidence, and a page from their witness statement is open, the documents they are being asked questions about will be in another volume and everyone can have both pages open simultaneously. "Documentary evidence" means everything except pleadings, orders, notices about evidence, and witness statements, so normally the first volume will contain pleadings, orders, notices about evidence, and witness statements, and everything else will be in a separate volume or volumes. 

Do not overfill volumes. It must be easy to turn over the pages in a volume, so do not overfill. This means no more than 300 sheets in a lever arch file and no more than 100 sheets in a ring binder. There will be cardboard tabs in front of each section and if there are a lot of sections in a volume the combined thickness of all the cardboard tabs may reduce the number of sheets which can comfortably fit in a volume. Also if you are including some A3 sheets in an A4 volume (by folding them twice) that may affect how many sheets can be comfortably accommodated, but usually 300 sheets in a lever arch file and 100 sheets in a ring binder is fine. 

Subject to the above considerations, use as few volumes as possible. For example if you have a Photos section containing 100 sheets, and an Other Documentary Evidence section containing 100 sheets, put both sections in a single lever arch file rather than use two ring binders.

Don't have a lever arch file containing less than 100 sheets. If you can't avoid having a section of less than 100 sheets by itself in a volume, use a ring binder, not a lever arch file.   

Here is an example:           

Volume 1 (ring binder)
Index (7 sheets - A4)
Section A - Pleadings (20 sheets - A4)
Section B - Orders (9 sheets - A4)
Section C - Claimant's Witness statements (23 sheets - A4)
Section D - Defendant's Witness statements (28 sheets - A4)
Section E - Notices about Evidence (2 sheets - A4)

Volume 2 (lever arch file)
Section F - Photographs (30 sheets - A4)
Section G - Other Documentary Evidence (210 sheets - A4 and a few A3 sheets folded to A4 size)
Section H - A3 Maps (10 sheets folded to A4 size)

Volume 3 (lever arch file)
Section I - All Exhibits (150 sheets - A4)

Note that volumes are given numbers rather than letters - e.g. Volume 1, Volume 2 etc. (rather than volume A, volume B etc.) This is to avoid confusion with the sections which are given letters - Section A, Section B, etc. 

Printing out, assembling and dispatching the Trial Bundle


1. Before printing out the final Trial Bundle, check the letters of each section. If the section letters are "DRAFT A", "DRAFT B" etc. change them to remove the word DRAFT so that they are just A, B, C, etc.

2. Click the Download Complete Bundle button as shown below to download the Trial Bundle as a PDF. Check that all pages (except the initial Front Page and Index) have red page numbers at the bottom right.

The complete bundle PDF is bookmarked and is useful for browsing the bundle on your computer. You can print a hardcopy from the Complete Bundle PDF but individual section PDFs are also available to download and you may find these easier to use for printing. For example, printing one section PDF at a time is one way of ensuring that the first page of each section is printed recto when printing double-sided.

When printing a hardcopy you should:
  • print the front-page and bundle index on A4 paper single-sided
  • print large documents single-sided on the appropriate paper e.g. A3
  • print all other pages on A4 paper double-sided ensuring that the first page of each section is printed recto.
Bundle PDFs downloaded from DCS will have PDF page sizes automatically set to A4 but if, when you originally loaded documents to DCS, you added e.g. A3 to the end of the document title for large documents you will be able to tell from the document titles listed in the index which pages need to be printed on paper greater than A4 size. You might remember, when you look at the documents, which ones - often maps and drawings - were larger than A4 but if you added the characters A3A2, etc. to the document title that will appear in the index and you will know for sure.

You need to print in colour 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.

If you are using a reprographics shop to print they may accept detailed written instructions about how to print e.g. -

"Please print the first 5 pages single-sided on A4. Print pages 20 to 22 and pages 41 to 45 single-sided on A3. Print all other pages double-sided on A4 ensuring that pages 6, 51, 72, and 98 are printed recto."

or the reprographics shop may insist that you provide PDFs containing PDF page sizes which accurately reflect the actual paper size to be used. To produce such PDFs proceed as follows. Open each section PDF and check whether there are any documents in that PDF which should be printed on paper greater than A4 size. If there are, load the PDF to the Resize facility in Sejdachoose the Change Page Size option and a panel like that shown below will be displayed. You will see that every document is set to A4 size (because DCS always generates bundle PDFs with all page sizes set to A4 irrespective of what page size the document had when initially loaded to DCS) and you need to select those documents which are greater than A4 size and correct the page size by changing it to A3 or A2 as appropriate.  

Save the PDF containing the corrected page sizes. Give the new PDF a name with e.g. A4A3 at the end to indicate that it contains A4 and A3 pages. 
For example if the section PDF is named SmithvJonesTrialBundlev053F002B1toB7 name the new PDF SmithvJonesTrialBundlev053F002B1toB7-A4A3


1. The first page is the Title Page. You should ensure that the Title Page contains the name and number of the case and the title of the bundle (e.g. "Trial Bundle") in tramlines. It is intended to be on the outside of the front cover of each volume.

2. Assemble all the other sheets you have printed together into a piles for each volume, folding each A3 or A2 sheet into A4 size.

3. Hole punch the sheets and file them in ring binder/lever arch files. As explained above witness statements should always be in a separate volume (witness statement sections can be combined in a volume with pleadings, orders, and notices about evidence, but not with anything else).  

4. Work out how many copies of the bundle you are going to need. Unless the court/tribunal rules or specific directions given by the court/tribunal, require more, you generally need two copies for the court/tribunal (one for the judge and one for the witness box) one copy for the other side (if the other side need two hard copies - one for them and one for their barrister - they can print the second hard copy from the PDF copy of the bundle which you will also be sending to them) one copy for your barrister and one copy for you. Repeat the steps above as many times as necessary to produce additional copies of the Trial Bundle.


1. Each volume needs to be labelled as explained in more detail below. Labels are important. The general idea of a label is that it should enable a judge to select the required volume at a glance. Labels should not contain too many words because that would defeat their "at a glance" function, and the most important words and numbers on the label should be in large type. For example, the name of the case (abbreviated using just surnames - e.g. Smith v Jones) and the number of the case should appear in smaller type and the volume number should be in large type. The name and number of the case are necessary so that court staff can ensure that the bundle gets to the right judge at the right time for the trial, but once the trial has started the name and number of the case do not need to be referred to (the judge knows which case they are trying!) and it is the volume number (and brief description) which it is important to see "at a glance".        

2. For each volume, write (in black ink) the number of the volume (in large writing - 72 point), the sections the volume contains (in medium writing), and the name of the case (in small writing) on a label affixed to the outside spine. You don't need to write the word "volume" - if you make the volume number large enough it will be obvious that it is a volume number. When writing the contents of the volume, give the section letters but omit the word "section" and make sure the section titles are concise by using recognised abbreviations if necessary, for example "Photos" rather than "Photographs" and "Claimant's W/S" rather than "Claimant's Witness Statements"



        G - OTHER DOCS

Smith v Jones 

3. Use a black pen to mark, in large lettering, in a prominent position on the Front Page, the number of the volume and the contents before fixing the Front Page to the outside of the front cover of the volume:

4. A label with the volume number and brief indication of contents (in black ink) should be stuck on to the front inside cover of each volume at the top left . Use a large label with large writing but the writing should not extend too far to the right - the writing must be more than a page's width from the retaining prongs/rings so that it can be seen even when the pages of the volume are open:


5. You should insert a cardboard tab in front of each section in each volume, giving (in black ink) the section letter (in large print) and the concise section title abbreviated as necessary to fit onto the tab without being unduly small writing. For example if the first volume contains five sections Section A - Pleadings, Section B - Orders, Section C - Claimant's Witness Statements, Section D - Defendant's Witness Statements, and Section E - Notices about Evidencea cardboard tab with A Pleadings written on it should be inserted before the pleadings, a cardboard tab with B Orders written on it should be inserted before the orders, a cardboard tab with C Claimant's W/S written on it should be inserted before the claimant's witness statements, a cardboard tab with D Claimant's W/S written on it should be inserted before the defendant's witness statements, and a cardboard tab with E Notices written on it should be inserted before the notices about evidence. 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.

Sending out the hardcopy bundle copies

1. The court's/tribunal's order will specify a deadline by which you must deliver the trial bundle in hardcopy form to the other side in advance of the trial and generally you will be sending copies of the bundle to the other side by post. The deadline for delivering the court's/tribunal's copies to the court/tribunal office depends on the particular rules and any specific directions given by the court/tribunal. Many offices have limited storage space and consequently the directions may specify a maximum as well as a minimum time for delivery to the office - e.g. "The Claimant shall lodge the trial bundle not more than 14 days before, and not less than 7 days before, the trial date". Usually, again because of lack of storage space, the directions will require only one copy of the bundle to be lodged in advance at the court/tribunal office with the second copy (for the use of witnesses) being brought along on the first day of the trial. 

2. If you can it is better to deliver the bundle to the court/tribunal office rather than use the post (in some understaffed courts you might have to ring for an appointment to make the delivery - check on the notice of hearing). If you must send copies of the bundle by post, you should enclose a covering letter (saying e.g. "Please find enclosed one copy of the Trial Bundle...") giving the name and number of the case and the date of the trial. Ensure that the lever arch files/ring binders are 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. This (and the instructions above about proper labeling) might sound like a small points but they are not - bear in mind that you want the judge to give their full attention to what may be complex evidence, and detailed arguments put forward on your behalf, so any potential cause of distraction (such as malfunctioning binders or unsuitable labeling of volumes) should be avoided. 

Providing PDF copies of the Trial Bundle

You should, as well as providing the Trial Bundle in hardcopy form to the court/tribunal office, also provide the Trial Bundle PDF to the court/tribunal on a USB stick. The USB stick should be a brand new USB stick which has not been used before and if the Trial Bundle contains placeholders for any video or audio files, the video/audio files themselves (e.g. the mp3 or mp4 files) should be loaded to the USB drive in addition to the Trial Bundle PDF. Generally the USB stick should be 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 Trial Bundle. 

See here for how to provide a copy of the Trial Bundle PDF to the other side.

Inserting new documents into a Trial Bundle after it has been sent out

You should take great care to ensure that the bundle is correct and complete before copies are sent out. If, despite best endeavours, you discover, after some or all of the copies of the bundle have been sent out, that a document has been missed out, it is essential that steps are taken to insert the additional document(s) in the same position in all copies of the bundle, including those already sent out, because the copies of the bundle used by the judge and by the parties and their barristers must be absolutely identical. It is also essential that the new documents are page-numbered in a way which does not disturb the existing page numbering of the bundle. See here for how to do this using DCS subnumbering.


This information page is designed to be used only by clients of John Antell who have entered into an agreement for the provision of legal services. The information in it is necessarily of a general nature and is intended to be used only in conjunction with specific advice to the individual client about the individual case. This information page should not be used by, or relied on, by anyone else. 

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.

This page was lasted updated in October 2019. Disclaimer