After tribunal proceedings are commenced, certain documents are produced as part of the process. Some of these documents are produced by a party in the case, and some are produced by the tribunal itself. Here are some examples:
An Order document (see example below) is normally one or two pages and sets out the order or orders made by the tribunal on a particular date. It is normally either signed by the judge (or by a tribunal official if it is a routine order such as standard directions) or else has the tribunal stamp containing the Royal Coat of Arms (sometimes called a "seal"), or it may be both signed and have a stamp.
Sometimes, before a tribunal makes an order, it invites the parties to submit draft orders containing the wording of an order they would like the tribunal to make. The tribunal may make the order using the wording proposed or it may decide to use different wording when making the order, or it may decide to make a completely different order. It is important, therefore, to get a copy of the order with the stamp on it (or signed by the judge, or both) so that you are sure that it is the order which the tribunal actually made rather than just a draft of what one party wanted.
A Notice of Hearing gives advance notice of the date, time and place of a tribunal hearing, how long it is expected to last, and what type of hearing it is (e.g. trial, hearing of an application, case management conference). It is normally either signed or stamped (or both).
example) is quite a long document which gives the judge’s reasons for coming to a decision.
At the beginning of the litigation process, documents are drafted by each party (usually by their barrister) setting out what their "case" is in concise form. These documents (example), which are often called "pleadings" (although the word "pleadings" does not normally appear on them) are then signed by the party and sent to the tribunal office and to the other party.
on them, often within parallel horizontal lines ("tramlines").
Each witness statement may be accompanied by one of more "exhibits". In the witness statement it may say, for example "I refer to a photograph marked Exhibit JJS2" and the photograph referred to will be separate with a front-sheet identifying it as Exhibit JJS2.
It is easier to find documents when you know what they might look like. In terms of appearance, most litigation documents are in one of two styles.
Some are on pre-printed forms with the details filled in in boxes. You can see an example at http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetForm.do?court_forms_id=4362 Each form is different but they have a similar style which is easy to recognise
Some are drafted from scratch without using a form. Usually you can recognise these because the top half of the first page will have the name of the tribunal and the names of the parties and, below that, the type of document in tramlines like this:
IN THE FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL
- and -
APPLICANT'S STATEMENT OF CASE
Offers to settle made by one party to another (if any) should be sent to your barrister when you first consult them. The tribunal office will not have copies of offers. Offers may be on a form or may be in a simple letter format. Look out for the words “Without Prejudice” “Without Prejudice Except as to Costs” “Calderbank offer” “Part 36 Offer” or “Open Offer” in the title of the letter, perhaps underlined or in block capitals.
It is possible, however, that you may not have copies of some of these documents which have been sent out. For example you may have received them but misplaced them. Or it may be that, up until recently, you have engaged a solicitor and your solicitor has these documents but you do not (if you engage a solicitor the documents received from the other party and the tribunal would normally be sent only to your solicitor because your solicitor’s address will have been on the tribunal file as your “address for service” and even if your solicitor has sent you documents for signature you might have sent them back after signature without keeping a copy).
It is also possible that although you have all the pages of all the documents they have become separated - perhaps because you did not realise the significance of them being bound together - and it is not clear what goes with what. For example, a witness statement or pleading might refer to certain documents saying "copies of these documents are attached". If you have detached the documents, although you still have them, it then becomes unclear which out of all the documents you have are the ones being referred to in the pleading (a pleading will not attach all documents but only certain key ones so knowing precisely what document was attached, and therefore is being referred to, is crucial) so in this case you need to obtain a fresh copy of the complete pleading with attachments.
Whatever the reason why you do not currently have all these documents, you will need to obtain copies. Depending how urgent it is, you may be able to obtain copies from a variety of sources as follows:-
If you need documents very urgently – e.g. if a hearing or deadline is imminent – then it may be that the best thing to do is to immediately contact the tribunal office to get copies - the best way to do this is usually to telephone, making sure you get the name of the person you are talking to, and then follow up, if necessary, by email, and, if you do not immediately get the documents requested, also ask solicitors on the other side (if there are solicitors on the other side).
This page was lasted updated in November 2016 Disclaimer