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

The Business and Property Courts have a website through which documents, in PDF form, must be filed. For those filings for which a fee is payable, credit/debit cards are accepted.


Email

You cannot normally file documents in the Business and Property Courts by email (though in those courts email can be used for certain limited purposes) but most other civil courts allow you to file some (but usually not all) documents by email. See www.justice.gov.uk/courts/email-guidance for details of what can be filed by email. You can see that the rules for what can and cannot be filed by email are complex so if you are in any doubt you should check with the court well in advance of any deadline. If the court does allow documents to be filed by email for which a fee is payable, the normal procedure (but check with the court) is that you can state in your email that you wish to pay by credit/debit card and give a telephone number at which the court office can contact you to take card details.


Hand Delivery

In the Business and Property Courts you cannot normally file documents in paper form (hardcopy bundles of documents are used for hearings, and are delivered in advance, but the formal documents in the bundle, of a type which have to be filed, must have been previously filed via the Business and Property Courts' website).   

All other civil courts accept documents to be filed in paper form. If you intend to deliver by hand, 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 many 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 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

In the Business and Property Courts you cannot normally file documents in paper form (hardcopy bundles of documents are used for hearings, and can be posted in advance, but the formal documents in the bundle, of a type which have to be filed, must have been previously filed via the Business and Property Courts' website).

All other civil courts accept documents to be filed in paper form by post, so providing you have not left it too late you can file a document by post. 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 Services Addresses folder so that, when the times comes, you can easily check the correct address to use). 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 even if you posted a few days beforehand. 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 May 2017          Disclaimer