DCS - Loading documents to the My Documentary Evidence case





During litigation the Caselines DCS system is used to store documents. There will be three or four DCS "cases". One DCS case will store key documents prepared during the litigation itself, such as the "pleadings" in which each side particularises what it will be arguing at trial. At the trial each side attempts to prove what it is arguing by using evidence. Witnesses at the trial are one form of evidence; another form of evidence is documents - photos, letters, emails, taken/written by you or by other people in the past which help to prove where the truth lies. The documentary evidence which you have you will be loading into a separate DCS case named My Documentary Evidence and this article explains how to load documents into the My Documentary Evidence case.

One reason why your documentary evidence is loaded to a separate DCS "case", called My Documentary Evidence, is that at the Disclosure of Documents stage of the litigation you will be providing copies of relevant documentary evidence (and a list) to the other side. By the time you get to the Disclosure of Documents stage, some documents created as part of the litigation process, such as pleadings and orders (and any witness statements supporting an early application for interim relief) will already have been sent to the other side and other documents produced for the litigation, such as the main witness statements, may be being held in reserve awaiting the future date set for exchange, and it makes the Disclosure of Documents stage simpler, and less liable to error, if those documents are in one DCS case and there is another, separate, DCS case just for your documentary evidence which you will be disclosing to the other side at the Disclosure of Documents stage. 

How to load various kinds of documents to DCS is described below. You need to use a Windows computer because some of the apps (such as FastStone) used to produce, from the original documents, the PDF copies to be loaded to DCS only work on a Windows computer.


Loading digital photos

First make sure that the dIgital photo JPG files (containing EXIF data showing the device which took the photo and the date and time it was taken) have been loaded from the phone/camera they were taken on on to your computer. Then use FastStone Photo Resizer to make temporary PDF copies and load the PDFs to DCS, as explained below.

1. Use FastStone Photo Resizer Batch Convert option to create temporary PDF copies from the JPGs. 


On the above panel select an Output Format of PDF, tick the Rename box and enter the characters $Y-$M-$D Photo at $H.$N.$S Tick the Use Advanced Options box, and use the Advanced Options shown below to include the device make and model and date and time taken (from the EXIF data) in the PDF copy in red in the top of the page within a white border.






2. When all the options shown above have been selected, tap the Convert button.

FastStone Photo Resizer will then, because you have put $Y-$M-$D Photo at $H.$N.$S in the Rename box, create PDF copies named like this

2014-06-02 Photo at 15.27.17

You can then, if you wish, rename individual PDF copies to add a brief description to the end of the file name like this

2014-06-02 Photo at 15.27.17 No 22 garden - gap in wall

Because each photo has a unique identification (date and time including seconds) it is not always necessary to add specific detail such as "gap in wall" - you could simply name it with the general subject like this

2014-06-02 Photo at 15.27.17 No 22 garden

If all the photos (or a significant number of them) are to have the same brief description then, rather than rename each PDF individually after it has been produced by FastStone Photo Resizer, you could, before tapping the Convert button, put 

$Y-$M-$D Photo at $H.$N.$S - No 22 garden

in the Rename box. 


3. For each photo check the EXIF device make and model information in the top margin above the photo. If the device make and model is the name of a scanner (rather than a camera or a phone) then that means that the EXIF date-taken date/time is just the date/time that the photo was digitised and not the date/time the original photo was actually taken. If the EXIF device make and model information is absent then again the date is the digitisation date. Even if the EXIF device make and model is a camera or phone it may be clear to you that the photo is just a photo of photo so that the date-taken date/time is just the digitisation date. In any of these circumstances you should discard the PDF you have created for that photo and instead create a PDF with the digitisation date explicitly labelled as such.


4. The next step is to load the PDFs to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs
 

Loading old Paper Photos

You first need to scan in, or photograph, any relevant paper/card photo as a JPG file. 

If an old photo is relevant then establishing the (approximate) date that it was taken is likely to be important and you should preserve anything which sheds light on when it was taken. If the photo is stuck in an album of photos, do not unstick it but preserve it as it is because, if there turns out to be a dispute about when the photo was taken, the album as a whole may help to shed light on when the photo was taken. For example the general appearance of the album and perhaps other photos in it, even if not themselves directly relevant, may shed light on when the photo in question was likely to have been taken. So do not unstick any photo but take a photo of it in situ. 

Photos which are loose can either be scanned in as JPG files or else photographed but if you choose to photograph using a hand held camera make sure that the photo you take is of good quality - it may take more than one try.   

If a photo is loose, look on the reverse side just in case anything relevant is written on it. It might possibly have a date stamp from the company which printed it which would at least show that the photo must have been taken before that date.       

If there is any relevant information written on the reverse of the photo, photocopy the information on the reverse side then place the photo above the photocopied sheet when scanning in/photographing so that the JPG you produce contains both the face of the photo and, immediately below that, the information on the reverse side.

Once you have created the JPG file, create a PDF copy as explained here and then load that PDF copy to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs


Loading Emails

You have probably already saved copies of the emails relevant to the case as MSG or EML files. If so, you can proceed using Method 1 below, starting from step 2.

If, however, you have not previously saved the relevant emails as MSG/EML files you will need to obtain the emails direct from your email system. You can use either method 1 or method 2, whichever you find easier. Method 1 is faster once you have set it up but it takes time to set it up so if you have only a few emails to load you might prefer method 2.


Method 1

This method of loading emails can take a little while to set up  - perhaps 15 minutes if you are unfamiliar with the software - but once it is set up you can use it to load large numbers of emails very quickly, with each PDF automatically being given the right Document Title and Document Date in DCS which will save you a lot of typing later.  

1. Create a temporary folder on your Windows computer to contain MSG files. Set up Outlook and click and drag the relevant emails to the temporary folder where they will appear as MSG files. Microsoft Outlook is part of the Office 365 suite so if you have Word and Excel on your Windows computer the chances are you already have Outlook even if you have not previously used it. If you do not have Outlook but your emails happen to be in Gmail, an alternative is to create an MBOX file in the temporary folder.

2. Start PSTViewer. Choose Settings from the drop down list and select the English date format dd/MM/yyyy and a time format of 24hr.

3. Tap the Export tab and select PDF - attachments imaged from the drop-down list. Tap Edit profile. Select a page size of A4. Select Root folder and navigate to and select the out folder which is to contain the temporary PDF copies.

4. Select File name schema and set up the PDF filename pattern like this:



tip: you have to drag the Sent button up to the line above three times, once to select date, once to select hh and once to select mm.   

Click OK OK to return to the main PSTViewer panel.

5. Create a temporary output folder on your Windows computer to contain the temporary PDF copies. Navigate to the temporary input folder containing the MSG files (or EML files or MBOX file) and select the emails you want to create the temporary PDF copies of. Then tap the Export button. Temporary PDF copies will then be created in the temporary output folder with filenames in the format 2017-03-27  Email at 22.25 John Smith to Paul Jones

6. Load the temporary PDFs to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs


Method 2

You should be able to access all your emails from your Windows computer. Even if you normally use some other device for email, you should be able, using your Windows computer, to log on to your email provider's website (for example if your email address ends with gmail.com go to the GMail website, if it ends with btinternet.com go to the BT website) and access your emails on the website.

When you have logged on to the website and can access your emails, do the following for each relevant email:

1. Forward the email to mail@pdfen.com  

2. After a couple of minutes the PDFEN service will send you an email with a link. Click on the link and a temporary PDF (containing the original email message together with any attachments) will be downloaded.

3. Rename the temporary PDF to be like this: 2017-03-27 Email at 22.25 John Smith to Paul Jones

4. Load the temporary PDF to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs
 

Note: for emails which contain no attachments you can either use the above procedure or you may find it a little quicker to print the email to PDF instead of doing steps 1 to 3 above - you still need to step 4.

  

Loading Text Messages

Create temporary PDF copies of the text messages (from the JPG snapshots of the text messages) as explained here. Then load the temporary PDFs to DCS as described below under under Loading PDFs.
 

Loading Video files

I would recommend that you do not actually load video files to DCS but rather make a PDF placeholder document containing a link to the video file itself, and load just the PDF placeholder file to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs

If you want to make snapshots of key frames of the video, download a copy of the video to your Windows computer and then use VLC Media Player to create the snapshots as temporary PNG files. Before creating the snapshots go to preferences and, in video settings, include the characters $T in the prefix box so that the file name of each temporary PNG file includes the number of minutes and seconds into the video that the snapshot was taken at. You can then easily rename the temporary PNG files to appropriate names such as 2019-04-05 Video of Brookwood garden - snapshot at 00_03_22.png Then use PDFEN Convert to create a temporary PDF copy from each PNG file and load the PDF copies to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs


Loading Audio files

I would recommend that you do not actually load audio files to DCS but rather make a PDF placeholder document containing a link to the audio file itself, and load just the PDF placeholder file to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs


Loading other electronic files which are not PDFs

Use PDFEN Convert to create temporary PDF copies of the files - a couple of minutes after you tap the Convert button the PDFEN service will send you an email with a link. Click on the link to download the PDFs (one for each document).

PDFEN uses default values when creating PDF copies and you may find that some copies are not in the most appropriate format - e.g. a PDF copy of a spreadsheet may lack gridlines. Check each PDF created by PDFEN carefully and if the PDF created is not satisfactory use the print facility to "print to a PDF" instead.

Once you have created the temporary PDF copy, load it to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs   


Loading Street View images

If you find a Street View image which is relevant to your case, make a PDF copy using the Save as PDF option of the Print function of Chrome. An example of how to do this (using Street View) can be found here. Then load the PDF to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs
   


Loading Google Earth images

If you find a satellite or aerial photograph on Google Earth which are relevant to your case, take a screen print (i.e. press ALT-Print Screen) of the image, paste the screen print into an app (e.g. Word) and save as a PDF as explained hereThen load the PDF to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs



Loading copies of web pages

Google Street View and Google Earth images are example of websites which are thought to contain reliable historical information from an authoritative source - it is not an official source (such as Ordnance Survey) but it is a well-known private source which is independent (assuming your legal dispute is not with Google itself!) and believed to be accurate. But, depending on what your dispute is about, you might want to take copies of pages other websites. For example if you have a dispute with a supplier from whom you have ordered goods or services online you might want to take a copy of the details displayed on their website - taking a copy at the actual time you ordered would be the ideal but taking a copy as soon as you think of it has at least some value. You might, in fact, have already - some weeks ago - taken a copy of such a website in which case loading up that previously taken copy (as described below under Loading PDFs) might be better than taking a new copy now. 

But if you haven't previously copied a web page which is relevant to your case, you can make a PDF copy now using the Save as PDF option of the Print function of Chrome as shown in the example here. Then load the PDF to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs

 

Loading paper documents 

Method 1: Use your scanner to scan to a USB stick

Many scanners have a slot for a USB stick and allow you to scan direct to the USB stick as a PDF. You then insert the memory USB stick in to your Windows computer and load the PDF to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs
 

Method 2: Use your scanner connected to your computer

Alternatively you can plug the scanner into your computer and scan documents to temporary PDFs. Then load the PDFs to DCS as described below under Loading PDFs
 

Whichever method of scanning you use it is important that all pages of a single document should should be scanned into a single PDF

Whichever method you use, if a document consists of more than one page, make sure that all pages are scanned into a single PDF. Don't produce a separate PDF for each page as it makes it very difficult if you have to keep closing one PDF and opening another to read through the document. 

If you put all the pages of a document in the document feeder on your scanner they should, by default, be scanned into a single multi-page PDF. If you are not using the document feeder but are instead putting each page of a document, in turn, on the glass (e.g. because the pages are fragile) the scanning dialogue you use should prompt you after scanning each page to say whether there are more pages of the document to be scanned (or whether the page you have just scanned is the last page of the document) so that it knows to include the next page in the same PDF as the preceding pages.  

If you have a very old scanner which does not have a document feeder and does not prompt you when scanning from the glass, consider buying a new scanner. The cost of good quality scanners is coming down all the time and you can buy a combined scanner and printer, which can scan and print double-sided, A4 and A3, for less than £150. When buying a scanner make sure that the scanner has a double-sided automatic document feed (ADF) as you may find that many of the documents you need to scan in are printed on both sides.

Scanner/printer shown above is a Brother MFCJ6530DW 

Don't scan in two pages side-by-side

If you have a document in leaflet form - e.g. a single A3 sheet of paper folded in half to make a four page A4 sized leaflet - make sure you scan each page (rather than scanning two pages side by side) so that you produce a PDF containing four A4 pages (and not two A3 pages).

So don't scan it in like this
 



Scan it in like this



with any backsheet at the end.
 
Similarly, if you have a booklet consisting e.g. of 8 A4 pages made up of two folded A3 sheets stapled at the crease, make sure you scan each page so that you produce a PDF containing eight A4 pages (and not four A3 pages).



Loading Maps

If you need to obtain maps, such as historical Ordnance Survey maps, for your case, these can often be obtained in PDF form (for example from Emapsite) so that you don't have to try to scan in paper copies. If you are supplied with a series of maps, in chronological order, within a single PDF, it is generally fine to load that PDF and you don't need to extract the individual maps as individual PDFs because maps are generally presented (eventually in a trial bundle for example) in a dedicated section separate from the general chronological sections for photos and other documents. In fact, not only do you not have to extract individual maps, but it is generally best not to do so because having the PDF, exactly as received from the maps supplier shows exactly where the maps have come from, which is important. You should load the original PDF to the My Native Electronic Documents folder on your computer, then make a copy in a temporary folder, rename the PDF copy like this 1996-01-01 Historical Ordnance survey maps 1894 to 1996 and load the renamed PDF copy as explained under see under Loading PDFs

If you do have to obtain some historical maps in paper form, make sure that where they came from is apparent on the face of them. For example if you obtain a copy of a paper map, or a paper copy of a map on microfische from a County Record Office, it might not say what it is or where it came from but often the County Record Office will, on request, stamp it (usually on the reverse side) to confirm what it is and you can then scan in both the map, on the front of the paper, and the identifying stamp, on the reverse side, as a single PDF to load using the procedure explained above under Loading PDFs

If you have a map already in your possession which appears to be relevant but which does not have such identifying features, you should see if you can obtain the same map, with identifying information, from official sources and load that, in which case you don't generally need to load the map in your possession as well. However, before deciding that you do not need to load the map in your possession as well, check whether it contains additional relevant information - sometimes an Ordnance Survey map has been used as a convenient base on which some further drawing has been made. Also there are some cases where what you reasonably believed, in the past, about some matter, can be relevant and in that case what document you actually had in your possession in the past can be relevant.        



Loading PDFs

Before you start to load a PDF to DCS, consider the following three points
 
a.) If you have a PDF which contains more than one document you will need to extract the individual documents as individual PDFs before you can load them to DCS.

b.) If you have a PDF which is locked (password protected) you will need to make an unlocked copy (you can use www.sejda.com/unlock-pdf to unlock) and load that unlocked copy.

c.) DCS is used to create a collection (bundle) of page-marked documents which can be filed in a ring binder or lever arch file. This means that ideally each document loaded to DCS should not have significant writing close to the edge of the paper in the top right hand corner or bottom right hand corner (where page numbers will be) or in the centre of the left side (where the hole punches will be). It is common practice for letters and many other documents to have good margins on all sides but there may be some individual documents which you need to produce a copy of with a margin added at the top and/or bottom and/or left side. You can use www.sejda.com/resize-pdf to create a PDF copy with margins which you can then load to DCS.  



2. Tap "Update Case" next to the My Documentary Evidence "case", and then tap the Sections button.

3. Tap the Upload Documents(s) button next to the section the documents are to be loaded into and the panel below will appear. Tap Add files, navigate to where the folder on you computer the PDFs are, and select the PDFs to be loaded as shown in the pictures below.



If you are uploading PDF copies of digital photos, make sure you load all the digital photos taken on a single day together in one Upload Documents operation and make sure that that, before taping Start Upload, the photos appear in the above screen in chronological order (you can click and drag to alter the order). This is important because DCS assigns an internal document number to each photo in the order in which it was loaded and then lists documents which have the same date in document number order. Similarly if you are loading emails, make sure that all emails sent on a single day are uploaded together in chronological order so that they appear within DCS in chronological order. 

Tap Start Upload

Go through each document now on DCS and type in a Document Title and Document Date


Select Update All Documents and the panel below will appear. 



Amend the Document Title and Document Date as necessary for each document. You may find it easier if you display the first page of each document as you type the details in.        

When typing in the Document Title, the objective is that the description should be concise but should be sufficient (when combined with the document date) to enable anyone to identify the document.

So in the case of an email a concise description would indicate that the document is an email and give the time the email was sent and the names of the sender and recipient:

Document Title Document Date
  
 Email at 15.28 John Smith to Paula Jones
 
 20 September 2018


If there is only one person with the surname Smith and only one person with the surname Jones you can shorten the document title to Email at 15.28 Smith to Jones, but don't use just initials - Email at 15.28 JS to PJ - as the document title you enter is the title which will eventually be seen by the judge (in the trial bundle) and needs to be readily understandable. If the sender or recipient is a company with a long name such as The Blue Arrow Company (United Kingdom) Limited you can abbreviate this to e.g. Blue Arrow but don't use just initials unless the initials are very well known such as BBC or BT.  


Here are some other examples:

 Document Title  Document Date
 
 Letter Smith to Jones


 Memo John Smith to Phillip Jones

 Purchase Order Preston Haulage to Farnfield Motors

 Invoice Farnfield Motors to Preston Haulage

 Agreement John Smith and Peter Fisher

 Cheque Preston Haulage to Farnfield Motors

 Bank Statement John Low 01378256

 Photo at 10.23.41 Rose Cottage garden

 Email at 18.22 Phillip Jones to John Smith

 
15 December 1998

 22 January 2015

 30 January 2015

 1 May 2015

 30 June 2015

 30 June 2015

 1 July 2015

 15 August 2015

20 January 2016



The Document Date will have been automatically set in DCS when you loaded the PDF if the PDF filename commenced with, or ended with, the date in yyyy-mm-dd format or yyyy.mm.dd format. Otherwise the Document Date will have defaulted to today's date so you will need to change the Document Date, for each document, to the correct date of the document. 

For digital photos, check the EXIF device make and model information (printed by FastStone) in the margin above the photo. If the device make and model is the name of a scanner (rather than a camera or a phone) then that probably means that the file was created by scanning in an old photo so that the date/time information is just the date/time the photo was digitised, not the date it was originally taken. Or even if the EXIF device information is a phone or a camera it might be obvious from the image that it is a photo of a photo rather than an original digital photo. In these cases the date and time of digitisation shown above the photo is still useful (because it at least shows that the photo must have been taken before the digitisation date - also it provides a convenient unique identifier to refer to the photo by) but you need to change the Document Date in DCS to the true date the original photo was taken. You probably won't know the exact date the photo was taken so add the word circa and an approximate date at the end of the Document Title like this

 Document Title  Document Date
 Photo of Rose Cottage garden - circa 1990s 1 January 1990
 Photo of Rose Cottage - circa 1992  1 January 1992
 Photo of Rose Cottage garden - circa spring 1994   1 April 1994
 Photo of Rose Cottage garden - circa August 1995
 1 August 1995

Use an absolute approximate date in the Document Title such as circa 1999 not a relative approximate date such as about 20 years ago.

You still need to enter a full date (year, month, and day of month) as the Document Date - so that the document appears in the (approximately) correct order in DCS after older documents and before newer documents - but the words at the end of the Document Title make clear that that full Document Date entered is for sorting purposes only rather than being intended to be the exact date of the document.



Street View images 

Street View normally only give the month and year of an image - not the exact date. If you have created a PDF copy of an image on Street View, then name it like this:

Document Title Document Date
 StreetView image of Rose Cottage - March 2018 1 March 2018
  

Date of receipt of documents

The date entered into DCS as the Document Date is always the date the document was created/signed. For most documents there is no need to indicate, in addition, when a document was received by you but very occasionally this might be important and, if it is, the date received can be entered in brackets at the the end of the Document Title.


A3 and larger documents

For A3 and larger documents, you should add - A3 etc. at the end of the Document Title to remind you to use the right paper (and the fit to paper print option) when you eventually come to print that document as part of the trial bundle or other "bundle" of documents. DCS generates bundle PDFs using the same page size - A4 - throughout so, when you come to print the bundle of documents from the bundle PDF generated by DCS, it is only the presence of - A3 etc. in a document's title in the bundle index, and PDF bookmarks, which will remind you to print that document on larger paper.


Land Registry Official Copies

When the Land Registry provides an Official Copy of a document, it will either have a title page saying that the official copy follows this page or the document will be stamped on the first page with an Official Copy or Office Copy stamp, and on the first page should be a Title Number which will usually be in the form AB123456. Land Registry official copies like this should be named with the Title Number at the beginning of the Document Title:


 Document Title  Document Date
 
 AB123456 Transfer

 AB123456 Transfer

 AB123456 Transfer

 AB123456 Register of Title

 AB123456 Title Plan

 

 
 11 November 2010

 3 August 2017

 27 October 2017

 11 October 2018

 11 October 2018

 


If the Disclosure of Documents stage has already taken place

In most legal proceedings there is a disclosure of documents stage at which each party is obliged to send to the other party a list - usually a numbered list - of the documents it proposes to rely on at trial and often also (depending on the court's/tribunal's order) other relevant documents the party has as well. It is useful to be able to identify which party has disclosed each document and if, when you are loading documents to DCS, the Disclosure of Documents stage has already taken place, then when naming the documents you should include the disclosure list number at the start of the Document Title like this:


 Document Title  Document Date
  
 C12 Letter Jane Jones to John Smith
 
 20 September 2018

The letter C indicates that the document was disclosed by the Claimant and C12 indicates that it is document number 12 on the Claimant's Disclosure List. D is used for Defendant, A for Applicant, R for Respondent etc.

The rules of most courts and tribunals require documents to be listed individually on a disclosure list so if it is a numbered disclosure list each document will have its own number. If, exceptionally, a party is allowed to list documents on its disclosure list as groups - e.g. "12.   Ten photos of Brookwood garden" then an alphabetic suffix should be used for each document in that group entry - e.g. C12a, C12b, C12c, etc. See here for a longer explanation. 

Disclaimer

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. Any sample screen layouts are based on the version of software current when the screen shot was taken and may be different now. 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.

Any explanation about naming conventions or other matters in the context of tribunal or court procedure is only an overview and in order to be reasonably concise I have had to leave some details out - details which are likely to affect what the procedural law would say about your own situation. So please do not rely on the above but contact me for advice.

This page was lasted updated in July 2019. Disclaimer