How to File a Document at the Court Office

An important part of the process of civil litigation is providing 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. 


Online

Most Business and Property Courts and some other courts use a website (CE-FILE) through which documents, in PDF form, must be filed. For those filings for which a fee is payable, you will be prompted to enter a credit/debit card number. 


Email

In those courts which do not use CE-FILE you can usually file most documents by emailing them to the court as attachments. Make sure that you use the correct email address and put the case name and number in the Subject of the email. In the body of the email put "Please find attached [document name] for filing. If any fee is payable I would like to pay by card. My phone number to take payment is..."

It is best to send by email no later than the morning of the deadline date. This is important not only because you might have temporary problems with your internet link but also because documents sent by email have to be processed by court staff and there is a cut-off time in the afternoon after which time documents received are counted as filed on the next day the court office is open.

Not all documents can be filed by email. See www.justice.gov.uk/courts/email-guidance f
or details of what can and cannot be filed by email and double check with the court in good time before any deadline if you are in any doubt.


Hand Delivery

If the court does not use CE-FILE and the document you want to file is not one which can be filed by email, you can file documents by delivering them in paper form. 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 and find the right counter. It is best to go to the court office no later than the morning of the deadline date. This is important not only because some court offices close early in the afternoon but also because documents which are not filed online have to be processed by court staff manually so there is a cut-off time in the afternoon after which time documents received are counted as filed on the next day the court office is open. Tell the person at the counter that you want to "file" the documents. Sometimes all the counters are closed and there is just an internal post box for filing documents in which case you should 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.


Post

If the court does not use CE-FILE and the document you want to file is not one which can be filed by email, and you do not want to hand deliver, you can, providing you have not left it too late, file a document by post. 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 even if you posted a few days before the deadline, so you are taking a risk if you use the post rather than hand deliver. Make sure you send it to the correct court office (if your case is transferred to a new court office, the new office will write to you telling you that and you should store that letter in your Service folder so that, when the time comes, you can easily check the correct address to use). Enclose a covering letter saying "Please find enclosed [document name] for filing". 


Disclaimer

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. 

This page was lasted updated in March 2019          Disclaimer