New guidelines have been released in respect of Court bundles to ensure consistency across the new “Family Court”.
A Court bundle contains documents which are relevant to a hearing and which the judge needs to read or refer to during that hearing.
If you are the person making the application (known as the Applicant) and you have legal representation, your legal advisers are responsible for preparing the Court bundle. If you do not have legal representation then the responsibility falls to the legal representatives of the person receiving the application (known as the Respondent). Where neither party has legal representation (litigants in person), then unless the Court says otherwise, the litigants in person are not obliged to provide a bundle, however, should they choose to do so, the bundle must be prepared in accordance with the new guidelines.
The guidelines are useful as they set out the format to the bundle (i.e. in what order the Court requires the documents and how it should be set out), what documents should and should not be included and outlines the rules for lodging the bundle with the Court and/or any other parties. These guidelines can be found at Practice Direction 27A of the Family Procedure Rules.
It would appear that the new guidelines will also assist the Court by reducing the amount of paperwork received prior to a hearing and therefore documents which may have previously been included in a Court bundle may, now, not be required.