by Mark Abernethy
The High Court has issued a revised practice note for the use of electronic bundles and case books, bringing its terminology into line with the Higher Courts Civil Electronic Document Protocol promulgated in April.
The revised practice note – which replaces the current one issued in October 2013 – is intended to facilitate the use of electronic bundles and case books in the High Court, especially when the bundles contain more than 500 pages (in civil matters) or a “significant numbers of documentary exhibits” in criminal cases.
The 2016 Protocol sets out the method of naming folders and documents and the requirements for filing and serving.
The new practice note uses the terminology used in the 2016 Protocol so that reference is made to both an electronic common bundle and/or an electronic casebook. The process for considering whether electronic documents should be used, and default directions, are otherwise unchanged, including that in criminal proceedings all court documents such as pleadings, charging documents, affidavits, lists of documents and interrogatories, should continue to be filed in hard copy.
Chief High Court Judge, Hon Justice G J Venning, stipulated that the rules as to pleadings, charging documents, privilege, confidentiality, evidence, and bundles apply to all documents in electronic form, and the Court may direct that inadmissible material be removed from an electronic common bundle.
Electronic bundles and case books must be produced so they can used by both prosecution and defence (in criminal cases) and parties must agree on formats and indexes that are compatible with litigation support software, in civil matters.
This practice note comes into effect on 25 July 2016.