Proctor : February 2019
27 PROCTOR | February 2019 The trial bundle needs to be prepared as soon as possible prior to the trial dates, and a copy provided to your counsel. This will enable counsel to prepare examination in chief, cross-examination and submissions by reference to the volume and page numbers of the trial bundle. When getting the trial bundle copied, be aware that at least one copy will need to be provided to each other party, which may request and agree to pay for additional copies to be prepared and provided. You should also scan the trial bundle onto a USB hard drive as searchable PDF documents, as some judges prefer to receive their working copy of the trial bundle in this format or in addition to the hardcopy trial bundle. You should provide a copy of the USB drive to counsel also, as this can assist counsel in having access to their copy of the trial bundle after hours or if their copy remains in the courtroom. If a copy of the USB drive is given to the judge, copies will also need to be provided to each other party. Core bundle A core trial bundle is a trial bundle consisting of core documents in the case. Usually, these will be the documents which are central to the dispute between the parties and will be those documents identified in the pleadings, Back to basics plus a limited number of further documents to which the trial judge is likely to be taken by both parties during the trial. A core trial bundle is useful when the parties are unable to agree on an index for an enlarged trial bundle or if there are disputes about the admissibility of numerous documents. Trial bundle index with objections As noted above, the trial bundle is a bundle which should be tendered by consent, which means that all documents in the bundle are admitted into evidence. An alternative approach to the preparation of a trial bundle is to include all documents, including those to which a party takes objection, and to record the objection in a column in the index to the trial bundle. An example of an index to this type of trial bundle is available at courts.qld.gov.au/ court-users/practitioners/pre-trial-case- management-in-the-supreme-court. If this alternative approach is taken, attempts should be made to resolve objections to the admissibility of documents prior to trial. Most objections to documents fall away by the time the trial commences, either because the party seeking to include the document accepts the basis for the objection or the objection is withdrawn. When objections are resolved, Kylie Downes QC is a Brisbane barrister and member of the Proctor Editorial Committee. documents should be removed from the trial bundle or the objection removed from the index. Depending on the proximity of the trial dates, if an objection results in a document being removed by agreement, you do not need to redo the pagination of the bundle. Instead, amend the index to make it clear that there is no document in the bundle bearing the particular page numbers, for example: 168. Letter sent by plaintiff to defendant dated 18 May 2018 Pages 93-94 169. REMOVED Pages 95-98 170. Letter sent by defendant to plaintiff dated 6 June 2018 Page 99 Conclusion Preparation of a trial bundle requires identification of the purpose of the trial bundle and, with that purpose in mind, identification of relevant documents which are assembled as early as possible and in a manner which facilitates an efficient trial. Kylie Downes QC explores the different approaches that can be taken in preparing a hardcopy trial bundle for a civil trial.