Organising Documents on Caselines DCS for a Court Case

Everything you send or receive during the course of the litigation, including both correspondence about the case and formal litigation documents, will be automatically stored in your email system, but you will find that, as litigation proceeds over many months, you will end up with a large number of emails in your email system, so, whenever you receive, or send out, a key formal litigation document, you should store a copy of it in the appropriate location in Caselines Digital Case System (DCS), as described below, so that you can easily locate these important documents when needed as the case proceeds, and not have to search for them in your email system.

In addition to what is created by the litigation process itself (i.e. formal litigation documents and correspondence about the case), you will be sent by the other party, at the Disclosure of Documents stage, copies of their documentary evidence – e.g. photographs or documents which came into existence in the ordinary course of events in the past such as letters, invoices, written agreements, emails, diaries, logs etc. which are probative of issues in dispute in the litigation. These items of documentary evidence should be stored in as separate DCS “case” as should your own documentary evidence.

A word about terminology. The whole of the litigation is referred to as a "case" and the court will allocate a case number. But the DCS system also uses the word "case" to refer to a collection of documents (from which, if necessary, a "bundle" can easily be produced). So there will be several DCS cases for your single court case.  

Storing the above documents in DCS in the way described not only allows you to find key important documents quickly but also  means that you can use the DCS system to generate a Disclosure list (at the Disclosure of Documents stage) automatically and, most importantly, will allow you to deal with the process of the production of a Trial Bundle. Because the process of production of the Trial Bundle is a collaborative task between the parties, and the other party might be inefficient, it is essential to have all documents which might need to be included in the Trial Bundle ready in Caselines so that, if necessary, the Trial Bundle (or a Supplementary Trial Bundle if the other side is producing the Trial Bundle and refuses to include documents you require) can be produced quickly in time to meet the deadline for delivery just before the trial.

Also the DCS system is where I will look, from now on once you have set it up, for certain key documents as the litigation proceeds and you ask me to carry out work at each stage. It would not be cost-effective for me to search through your cloud storage, so don't give me access to your cloud storage, but instead you should put copies of the key documents and relevant documentary evidence, in DCS as explained below.             



Organising documents in Caselines DCS

In the Caselines Digital Case System (DCS) groups of documents are organised into what are called cases and, within each case, documents can be further divided into sections. As shown below, you will initially need to create three or four DCS cases for your case, and you may need, later on, to create further DCS cases to produce bundles for the trial and for any other court hearings. How to load documents is explained here.

The documents to be stored in each DCS case are shown in the tables below. As well as making sure you do store the key formal litigation documents in the correct sections in the Case Management case as soon as you send or receive them, it is equally important that you do not store, in a Caselines section, a document which does not belong there. If, for example, you were to store every piece of correspondence sent or received, into the sections of the Case Management intended for formal litigation documents, “just in case”, that would defeat the object because the important documents would be lost among the mass of more routine correspondence.


Smith v Jones - Case Management case


Name of Section  Order by What documents should be stored in it

Pleadings  
Date

 Pleading documents, otherwise known collectively as statements of case, are the documents in which each side seeks to define, at a summary level, the assertions it makes and to what extent it agrees with or disputes the assertions made by the other party. Pleading documents go by different names. In every contested case there will be at least a Claim Form and Particulars of Claim, and there will always be a Defence or a Defence and Counterclaim. In addition there may be further pleading documents such as a Reply to Defence, Reply to Defence and Defence to CounterclaimReply to Defence to Counterclaim, Answer to Request for Further Information, or Part 18 Answer.

Claim Form                                                                 30 Jan 16 

Particulars of Claim                                                    30 Jan 16

Defence                                                                       23 Feb 16

Court Orders  
Date

 Orders made by the court (e.g. about how the parties are to prepare for trial) and notices issued by the court such as a Notice of Hearing - e.g.

Order                                                                            27 Feb 16

Claimant’s Expert Report  
Date

 Where the court gives the Claimant permission for an expert to be used, the Claimant’s expert’s report and the replies the expert gives to subsequent questions sent by either party are stored here – e.g.

Expert Report Mr Jenkins                                            14 Mar 16

Supplementary Expert Report Mr Jenkins                    10 Apr 16

Mr Jenkins Replies to Questions                                  23 Apr 16

Defendant’s Expert Report  
Date

 Where the court gives the Defendant permission for an expert to be used, the Defendant’s expert’s report and the replies the expert gives to subsequent questions sent by either party are stored here.

Claimant’s Witness Statements  
Date

 Signed witness statements of the Claimant and each of the Claimant’s witnesses, which have been served (or are about to be served) 

Witness Statement of John Smith 1st                              02 May 16

Witness Statement of Paul Davis 2nd                               14 May 16

Any witness statements (and exhibits) - or equivalent: statutory declaration, Land Registry Statement of Truth, etc - for other, previous litigation are not stored here. If they are relevant to the current proceedings they will be stored in the Smith v Jones - Documentary Evidence case - see below.

Any witness statements already used in the current proceedings for some purely procedural application (e.g. a witness statement from a process server explaining how documents were personally served) are not stored here if they will not need to be used at trial (they will have been stored in the DCS case used for the application hearing - see Cases for Hearings below).  

Defendant’s Witness Statements  
Date

Signed witness statements of the Defendant and each of the Defendant’s witnesses, which have been served (or are about to be served) 

Witness Statement of Jeremy Jones 1st                           03 May 16

Witness Statement of Pamela Jenkins 1st                        10 May 16

Any witness statements (and exhibits) - or equivalent: statutory declaration, Land Registry Statement of Truth, etc - for other, previous litigation are not stored here. If they are relevant to the current proceedings they will be stored in the Smith v Jones - Documentary Evidence case - see below.

Any witness statements already used in the current proceedings for some purely procedural application (e.g. a witness statement from a process server explaining how documents were personally served) are not stored here if they will not need to be used at trial (they will have been stored in the DCS case used for the application hearing - see Cases for Hearings below).

 NOTICES FOR VIDEOS and AUDIO FILES 
Date
 
If there are video and/or audio files you will need to serve a CPR 33.6 Notice if you want to use them at trial. Store the Notice here and also store here any similar notices served on you by the other side.

Notice under CPR 33.6                                                 19 Jun 16

If there are video and/or audio files but no CPR 33.6 Notices have yet been served by either party, create this section (with nothing in it) just to remind you not to forget them. Omit this section if there are no video or audio files. Change section name if only videos and no audio or vice versa.

 Other Notices about Evidence 
Date
 
Notices about evidence sent by one party to another, other than those relating to video and audio files, are stored here. This includes Notices under CPR Rule 33.6 regarding photographs and plans, and CPR 32.19 notices challenging the authenticity of documents. 

Notice under CPR 33.6                                                30 May 16

NB This section is for notices about evidence sent by one party to the other; it is not for notices of hearings sent out by the court which should be stored not in this section but in the Court Orders section.     




Smith v Jones - Proofs of Evidence and Offers case

Name of Section Order byWhat documents should be stored in it

 Offers 
Date
 
All offers from one party to the other (whether open offers, Part 36 offers, without prejudice except as to costs offers, or Calderbank offers) and any responses (e.g. explaining why an offer is not accepted, requesting further information, etc). If one party proposes mediation but mediation does not take place then the letter proposing mediation and any reply declining mediation.

Letter Defendant to Claimant                                        28 Feb 15

NB Offers and responses which are unqualifiedly without prejudice (i.e. without prejudice rather than without prejudice except as to costs) are not stored here.

Initial letters proposing/or refusing mediation are normally without prejudice except as to costs and so would be stored here, but any documents produced during, or in preparation for, mediation itself will be unqualifiedly without prejudice (even if they do not explicitly say so) and are not stored here.  

 Proofs of Evidence 
Title
 
 You may have recently (i.e. after litigation commenced or when it was being contemplated) written down what you remember in a Proof of Evidence. The difference between a Proof of Evidence (which is stored here) and a Witness Statement, which has been signed and served (which is stored not here but in the Case Management case - see above) is that your Proof of Evidence is the full account of what you can remember but a Witness Statement contains only the subjects which you need to give evidence about (e.g. if an issue turns out to be not in dispute between the parties it will be omitted from the Witness Statement to save time and costs). But until the Witness Statement is drafted, signed and served (and even after then in case some issue arises which it was previously thought was not in dispute) it is useful to have the Proofs of Evidence readily available which is why they are stored here. 

After Witness Statements have been exchanged you and/or your witnesses may have paragraph-by-paragraph comments on what the other side's witnesses say in their witness statements. These are also stored here.

John Smith - Letter                                                                       05 Mar 16
 
John Smith - Proof of Evidence                                                    12 Mar 16

John Smith - comments on witness statement of Jeremy Jones 
  15 Jun 16

Paula Smith - comments on witness statement of Jeremy Jones   16 Jun 16




In addition to the two “cases” described above, there should be a separate Caselines “case” or “cases” for documentary evidence.

If you have been using Caselines right from the start of litigation, it is convenient to create one “case” for your documents (which you can use to easily generate a disclosure list at the disclosure of documents stage) and a further case for documents produced by the other side. So one case would be named e.g. Smith v Jones – Claimant’s Documentary Evidence and one would be named Smith v Jones – Defendant’s Documentary Evidence. If, however, you only start to use Caselines after the Disclosure of Documents stage has already been completed, then it may be convenient to just have a single case named e.g. Smith v Jones – Documentary Evidence containing both your documents and documents produced by the other side. Of course where a document produced by the other side is identical to one you already have, you only need to load one copy. 

Smith v Jones - Documentary Evidence case


 Name of Section Section number Order byExamples of documents which might be stored in section
 Photographs A 
Date

Photo of Orchard                                        17 Jun 99

Photo of Orchard                                        23 May 14

Video of Orchard 01                                      22 Nov 14

For those photographs which have already been used as an exhibit in an application, the document PDF will include the exhibit frontsheet and the exhibit number will be included in the PDF name:

Exhibit JJS3 Photo of Orchard                  31 Jan 15

(but other documents exhibited in an application purely because there is no trial bundle - e.g. letters - and not because they require identification in the way a photo does, are stored in the appropriate section without frontsheet and without the PDF name including the exhibit number.)    

 AB123456 Title Deeds B 
Date

Conveyance                                                      10 Apr 1999

Register of Title  AB123456                                31 Oct 2016

Title Plan  AB123456                                          31 Oct 2016


 CD654321 Title Deeds C 
Date

Conveyance                                                      15 Mar 1998

Register of Title  CD654321                                31 Oct 2016

Title Plan  CD654321                                          31 Oct 2016


 Other Documents D 
Date

Letter John Smith to Lucy Jones                   15 Aug 12

Agreement John Smith and Lucy Jones         20 Sep 12

Email at 10.20 John Smith to Peter Jones      15 Aug 13



Usually the main run of documents are best arranged chronologically regardless of the document type, whether contract, purchase order, invoice, letter, email etc. in the Other Documents section, so that the sequence of events can be seen. However sometimes certain limited groups of documents (such as title deeds for different properties as shown in the example above) are best organised separately from the main run of documents – still organised chronologically but separately.

Important Note It is important that you do not store, in the Caselines cases and sections shown above, documents which do not belong there. If, for example, you were to store every piece of correspondence sent or received, into the sections of the Case Management case intended for formal litigation documents, “just in case”, that would defeat the object because the important documents would be lost among the mass of more routine correspondence. You may need, when the times comes, to create a bundle containing documents directly relating to a particular forthcoming hearing but this should be done by creating a new and separate Caselines case, to contain the documents required for that hearing (some of which may be copied from the above cases), not by adding documents to the above cases and sections which do not belong there.

Audio and Video files 

Documentary evidence includes not only written documents but also any relevant audio or video files (e.g. mp3 and mp4 files). You should store these on cloud storage. Google Drive is a very convenient (and free) cloud storage system though you should note that it, like all Google systems (including Gmail), is hosted outside the United Kingdom and so may not be subject to the same data protection standards as apply in the United Kingdom. For each video or audio file create a one page placeholder, select Get Shareable Link, and paste the link into the placeholder page so that the placeholder page looks something like this:


Store the placeholder file in the Smith v Jones Documentary Evidence case.
 

Cases for Hearings

As well as the two or three DCS cases shown above – which are for general reference throughout the case - you may need, when the times comes, to create a DCS case specifically to produce a bundle for a particular court hearing.

During the course of litigation, before the trial, one side or the other might make an application to the court for an interim order to, for example, preserve the status quo or give temporary relief pending the trial, and an application bundle case named e.g. Smith v Jones - Bundle 2017-06 - Application Hearing  will be required for the application hearing. Note that all bundle cases should have the word Bundle and and the month and year in yyyy-mm format immediately following the the name of the proceedings (e.g. Smith v Jones). This will ensure that they are listed chronologically in the DCS system.

As well as specific applications made to the court which are in some sense contentious, there may be, early on in the litigation, a case management hearing - usually called a Case Management Conference  or CMC - which is more administrative in nature and may be concerned with giving directions about how the parties are to prepare, over the coming months, for the eventual trial, setting appropriate deadlines for each step. To save costs in cases where the directions are likely to be relatively straightforward, the court may simply read each party's proposed directions (which each party submits with the Directions Questionnaire) and issue directions without holding a case management hearing (if this happens the parties have the right, upon receiving the order giving the directions, to ask the court to re-consider). If there is to be a hearing a short hearing bundle will be required. If the court is going to decide "on the papers" without a hearing, the court may still require the claimant to assemble and lodge a bundle for the judge's/master's use when making the decision on the papers because that is quicker and easier to use than looking through the court file.

These DCS cases for applications and short hearings should be kept intact after the hearings they were produced for because although an application or a CMC results in a court order, and it is normally only the order which needs subsequently to be referred to, occasionally it happens that some occurrence in the future means that some document used in the earlier application hearing or directions hearing, which is not contained in the other DCS cases, needs to be consulted. 

A trial bundle case would be named e.g. Smith v Jones - Bundle 2017-07 - Trial  and, after you have created the basic Trial Bundle case in DCS you would normally ask me to populate it with the documents which will be required (by copying selected documents from the two or three general reference cases shown above). Even if it is the other side, rather than you, which has been directed to assemble a trial bundle, you will need to tell the other side what documents you require to be included in it and in practice this is best done by creating a Smith v Jones – Documents to be Included in Trial Bundle case in Caselines. 

Once the trial has ended and the judge has pronounced judgment, that it normally the end of the litigation (barring any enforcement action which may be necessary, and any assessment of costs if that was not carried out at the end of the trial) but occasionally one side or the other may appeal to a higher court and, in that case, an appeal bundle case will be necessary.

At any stage of the litigation a party can make an offer to settle. Sometimes it is agreed that there will be a formal mediation, conducted by a professional mediator, and if there is a mediation usually a mediation bundle is produced to be used by the parties and the mediator.     

Organising your own cloud storage (including email)

You will be granting me access to the DCS Case Management and Proofs of Evidence and Offers cases and documentary evidence cases so that I can use them for reference each time you ask me to do the next piece of work as the litigation proceeds. I do not need access to your own cloud storage such as Google Drive - indeed it it best if you do not grant me access to your own cloud storage as, because of the way the human mind works, if I have access to your cloud storage you may start to think - perhaps subconsciously - that when doing each piece of work you ask me to do, I will be considering everything contained in your cloud storage when, in fact, it is only the documents in the DCS Case Management and Proofs of Evidence and Offers cases and documentary evidence cases which I will be considering (together with any email message and attachments you provide to me at the point where you ask me to carry out the next piece of work in your case). Ensuring that I do not have access to your cloud storage will remind you that it is your responsibility to ensure that the DCS Case Management and Proofs of Evidence and Offers cases are up to date with the key documents they are designed to hold (but no other documents) and that all relevant disclosed documents (but only relevant documents) are in the DCS documentary evidence cases.

Your cloud storage - and I include your email system under the general heading of your cloud storage - will contain a lot more documents than are contained in DCS. For example, if your case is about a piece of land and how it was used in the past you might, even if your cases is a private dispute about rights of way, for example, and not a dispute with the council about planning, obtain from your local council copies of past planning permission applications hoping that they might contain drawings which shed light on particular features of the land in the past. There might be 50 documents from one planning permission application which you obtain and store in your cloud storage but it may be that the only relevant documents are two drawings so that you only need to load those two drawings to your DCS documentary evidence case (together with, say, the signed application for planning permission, or formal grant of planning permission, which refers to the drawing number to show where the drawings have "come from"). 

Your cloud storage will also include documents generated by the litigation process itself but only a subset of these - key documents which have lasting significance for the duration of the case - will be in the DCS Case Management case. For example, when a Claim Form or Particulars of Claim are served, a Certificate of Service is normally completed. If there is any dispute about whether service was valid that document will be needed, but normally the Defendant will file an Acknowledgement of Service or otherwise indicate that they have been served with the document (e.g. by filing a Defence in response) and there is no dispute about service and the Certificate of Service is never needed. So to avoid cluttering up the DCS Case Management case the Certificate of Service is is not stored in DCS. Yet the Certificate of Service still needs to be stored in your cloud storage - somewhere where you know where to find it if needed - in case, unexpectedly, it should be required at some point in the future and I ask you to email it (or a temporary link to it) to me.

Because your cloud storage (unlike DCS) is not something you provide me with access to, it is entirely up to you how you organise it (as long as when, exceptionally, specific documents are needed from it you can quickly find them and provide them to me) and the following suggestions about how you organise your cloud storage - including your email system - are only suggestions.
               

Your Email System

Virtually all correspondence you send or receive will be automatically stored in your email system. This even includes much correspondence received by post because you will be emailing that to me to ask me to advise. Likewise you will be emailing to me PDF copies of any signed letters you send out by post which you have asked me to draft.

Occasionally, if there is a query, you may need to search for past email correspondence about the litigation. It is best to use a cloud email system - such as Gmail - which you will have access to at any time wherever you are because although many steps in litigation occur at predictable times there is always the possibility of something arising unexpectedly which may mean that you need to find old emails quickly when you are away from base. You can locate emails in your email system by date but it is also useful to group correspondence according to what it is about to make it easier to find. Most email systems allow you to create folders but Gmail has the advantage that instead of folders it uses "labels" and an email can be assigned to more than one Gmail label (by contrast, using the traditional folder system the only way to have an email in two folders at once is to make a copy of it). So you can have one Gmail label for all litigation emails and further labels for particular subjects such as Service Addresses. I would suggest that you have a high-level label naming the cases - e.g. Smith v Jones - and then, below that, you could have the following sub-labels.    


Gmail labels (email folders)

 Sub-label 
 LitCorr All litigation emails

 Service Addresses Any emails from me regarding advising how to validly file and serve formal documents. Also any correspondence sent by you or received by you which notifies an address for service or a change of address for service of formal documents (including any correspondence notifying a change of solicitor representing the other party). Any notification by the court of a change of address of the court centre dealing with the case.

 Advices Opinions and Advices written by me.

 Settlement Correspondence between parties which aims to achieve a settlement. 
 
 Costs  Costs budgets, estimates of costs, and statements of costs filed by either party as the case proceeds. Also Disclosure Reports (giving estimate of costs of disclosure of documents).

 CostsEvidence Supporting evidence of the individual items of expenditure you have incurred in the case. 

This may include invoices from barristers, expert witnesses, mediators and from any commercial document scanning or printing service you use. Also any invoices associated with obtaining evidence – e.g. charges for copies of historical aerial photographs. Invoices can include expenditure before proceedings commenced (e.g. advice from a barrister or solicitor).

You can collect details of other, smaller, items if you wish which might be able to be claimed, particularly if the court orders detailed assessment, but often the law of diminishing marginal returns applies – i.e. recording lots of small items takes time, and diverts from thinking about more important matters. Also most people want, if they can, to avoid the court ordering a long and costly process for assessing costs (detailed assessment) by making their costs claim simple (leaving off the small items) and asking the court for the faster and cheaper process of summary assessment. 

 CostsBehaviour Any correspondence in which one party accuses the other of unreasonable litigation behaviour.



PDF copies of Emails

If a matter arises in the litigation which you ask my advice on, I might ask you to quickly provide me with PDF copies of the relevant emails which you have sent or received, particularly if an application is to be made for an interim order. You could create PDF copies of emails when I request them but, in case we are short of time then, it is better to plan ahead and set up Cloud HQ to ensure that whenever you send or receive an email a PDF copy is automatically created in your cloud storage (e.g. in Google Drive)Note that using CloudHQ will result in your data being processed outside the United Kingdom.

PDF copies of Bundles

As explained above, whenever there is a court hearing a hearing bundle will need to be produced, either by you or by the other side. If the hearing bundle is produced by you using Caselines DCS it will be produced in PDF form before it is printed and you should save the bundle PDF in your cloud storage (e.g. in Google Drive). Although, once used for a hearing, a DCS case bundle should be kept intact and unchanged, there is always the possibility of it being changed by mistake (you might amend it by mistake when you intended to update one of the general reference cases for example), so you should retain the bundle PDF as it was when you printed it out and created the hardcopy bundle, so that you have an exact copy of what the hardcopy bundle contained for each hearing.


Paper files you should keep

  

Original signed formal litigation documents

The original signed copies of court documents which have been filed/served (e.g. pleadings and witness statements) should be kept in a paper file in case the court should require them to be produced.


Disclosure Documentation in two ring binders





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.

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. 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.


This page was lasted updated in June 2017 Disclaimer