An important part of the process of litigation is the sending of formal documents to the court office, by deadlines ordered by the court or set by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). This is called filing a document.
Because of the importance attached to filing documents, the rules say that only certain ways of filing are valid.
Some court offices have a website which allows you to file documents online in PDF form. For those filings for which a fee is payable, this can be paid by credit/debit card.
Where a court office has a system for online filing of documents, it may be voluntary or it may be compulsory to use. If it is compulsory normally the court office will have workstations available in the court office for those litigants who find it more convenient to use those workstations rather than to use their own computer. If there is no online system, or there is an online system but it is voluntary, the alternatives below may be used instead.
If the court office has an e-filing address listed here https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/ and the document meets the size (and other) restrictions explained here www.justice.gov.uk/courts/email-guidance you can file a document at the court office by sending it as an email attachment. If you are going to file a document by email it is best to send it no later than the morning of the deadline date. This is because documents which are not filed online have to be processed by court staff manually so that there is a cut-off time in the afternoon after which time documents received are counted as filed on the next business day, and you cannot be sure how long it will take your email to reach the court office: although email is usually virtually instantaneous technical problems may mean that there is a delay.
Some courts do not allow you to file a document by email if it is a type of document for which a fee must be paid. If the court does allow documents to be filed for which a fee is payable you should state that you wish to pay by credit card and give a telephone number at which the court office can contact you to take credit card details.
If email is not a valid means of filing for the particular court office, or for the particular type of document, then you can use hand delivery or, if you have left sufficient time, First Class post.
You can file the document at the court office by delivering it by hand. If you are going to file the document by this method, check here https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/search/ for the opening times of the court office and allow sufficient time to find the court office and pass through security procedures. It is best to go to the court office no later than the morning of the deadline date. This is because documents which are not filed online have to be processed by court staff manually so that there is a cut-off time in the afternoon after which time documents received are counted as filed on the next business day. Enclose a covering letter with the document saying "please find enclosed [document name] for filing". Make a note of the date and time that you delivered the document.
Providing you have not left it too late you can file a document at the court office by post. When the court receives the document in the post it will be date stamped on the day it is received. The court makes no allowance for delays in the post: if it is received late then you are counted as not having filed it in time. Enclose a covering letter saying "please find enclosed [document name] for filing". Make a note of the date and time that you posted the document.
This page was lasted updated in November 2016 Disclaimer