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 a bundle can easily be produced). So there will be several DCS cases for each 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
As well as the two or three Caselines cases shown above – which are for general reference throughout the case - you may need, when the times comes, to create a Caseline case specifically to produce a bundle for a particular court hearing.
A trial bundle case would be named e.g. Smith v Jones - Trial Bundle and, after you have created the basic Trial Bundle case in Caselines 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 the is best done by creating a Smith v Jones – Documents to be Included in Trial Bundle case in Caselines.
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. An application bundle case normally starts off life as a case named e.g. Smith v Jones - documents for counsel for Application - May 2016 into which you will load all the documents which seem relevant to the application. If the court has directed you to produce the application bundle, I may, before the application hearing, rename it to e.g. Smith v Jones - Bundle for Application Hearing on 1st June 2016 and finalise the documents it should contain, removing unnecessary documents and perhaps adding some documents taken from some of the general reference cases) so that you can use it to produce the application bundle. Depending on how many documents there are I may do this even if the other party has been directed to produce the application bundle as a convenient way for you to indicate to the other side documents to be included.
As well as specific applications made to the court which are in some sense contentious, there may, during the litigation before the trial, be a case management hearing which is more administrative in nature and may be concerned with giving directions about how the parties are to prepare for trial setting appropriate deadlines for each step (although even case management hearings sometimes include dealing with some simple applications). A short hearing bundle normally starts off life as a case named e.g. Smith v Jones - documents for counsel for Directions Stage - Jan 2016 into which you will load all the documents which seem relevant. If the court has directed you to produce a bundle for the hearing, I may, before the hearing, rename it to e.g. Smith v Jones - Bundle for Case Management Hearing on 1st Feb 2016 and finalise the documents it should contain, removing unnecessary documents and perhaps adding some documents taken from some of the general reference cases, particularly from the Case Management case). Depending on how many documents there are I may do this even if the other party has been directed to produce the application bundle as a convenient way for you to indicate to the other side documents to be included.
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.
Virtually all correspondence you send or receive will be automatically stored in your email system. This even includes much correspondence received by post because (depending what it is) you will be scanning it in and emailing it 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 an 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. 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. So you can have one Gmail label for all litigation emails and further labels for particular subjects such as Service. Here are some suggested labels (folders) to use:
Email folders (Gmail labels)
You do not need to routinely provide me with access to all past litigation correspondence but, if a matter arises which you ask my advice on, I may ask you to quickly provide me with PDF copies of the relevant emails, particularly if an application is to be made for an interim order. To enable you to provide PDF copies of emails quickly it is a good idea to set up in advance a folder in cloud storage and use Cloud HQ to ensure that whenever an email is sent or received a PDF copy is automatically created.Note that using CloudHQ will result in your data being processed outside the United Kingdom. If you are concerned about this there is an alternative method of creating PDF copies of emails though it is more laborious.
A second folder should be set up in cloud storage to contain PDFs of full bundles of documents produced by Caselines - e.g. when a bundle is produced for a hearing or when seeking an Opinion from a barrister.
Cloud Storage folders
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.
You should also keep paper copies of all disclosure documentation (both documentation received on paper and documentation received electronically) in two ring binders .
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 April 2017 Disclaimer