Family bundle guidelines updated

Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division, has revealed that a final approved draft of the revised Practice Direction 27A is due to come into force on 23 July 2018.

This update to the Practice Direction awaits only formal signature by the relevant Minister.

The basic PD27A remains as before but with some minor changes. As before the practice direction aims to achieve consistency across the country in the family court and the Family Division of the High Court in the preparation of court bundles.

The practice direction applies whether a bundle is being lodged for the first time, or is being re-lodged for a further hearing.

Main changes provided as part of the update include:

  • The introduction of page limits for certain types of document
  • Further requirements in relation to bundles of local authorities, and
  • The use of electronic bundles and how they are to be presented.

The amendments to PD27A introduce the concept of "proportionality" into the disclosure process, requiring parties to consider the importance and relevance of electronic documents before disclosing them. This means that parties must assess whether the costs of reviewing and disclosing electronic documents are proportionate to the value and complexity of the case, and whether there are any other factors that may affect the proportionality of disclosure.

In addition, the amendments introduce a new standard disclosure form, which parties must use to provide details of the electronic documents they hold, including their location, format, and the extent of their search for such documents. The new form is designed to promote consistency and transparency in the disclosure process, and to help parties avoid disputes over the scope of disclosure.

Overall, the July 2018 changes to the PD27A aim to streamline the disclosure process, reduce costs, and encourage cooperation between parties in civil proceedings.

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