The trend to paper-less trials and hearings has been gathering pace. The old paper trial bundles are being replaced by e-documents, files that are designed to be read on a screen rather than on a printed page.

Guidelines for this are emerging. In the English court system guidance has been issued by Mr Justice Mann, Judge in charge of Live Services, – see GENERAL GUIDANCE ON PDF BUNDLES

The main points are:

  • Documents should be presented as a single PDF.
  • There should be continuous page numbering.
  • All documents and all sections in bundles must be bookmarked .
  • An index or table of contents of the documents should be prepared. If practicable entries should be hyperlinked to the indexed document.

If you need to meet these requirements and include email messages within a larger e-bundle or electronic trail bundle PrintForTrial (PfT) can help.

PfT can meet these requirements by either producing a single document containing all the emails in a correspondence or by preparing separate files ready to combine with others into a single PDF document.

There are two routes to doing this.

Use Adobe Acrobat Pro

Adobe Acrobat Pro has a feature that allows you to combine PDF files to create a new PDF file. Here is a video on doing this. (produced by QEB – the Queen Elizabeth Buildings chambers.)

Note that Acrobat Pro is not the free version of Acrobat.

Use Word

A similar result can be achieved using the features of Microsoft Word and finally exporting the document as a PDF. It is slightly more long-winded.

  • First use PfT to produce the correspondence as a series of separate Word files.
  • Copy any other documents that will be included to the same folder.
  • Start a new document which will contain the others.
  • Add each component document in turn by ensuring that the cursor is at the end of the document then using Word’s Insert/Object/Text From File to add the file.
  • Once all the files have been inserted then go to the start of the document and use Word’s Table of Contents feature to generate a contents list. This will pick up the each file prepared by PfT as a Level 2 heading.
  • Use Word’s File/Export/Create PDF-XPS.(On the dialog box that appears enter an appropriate file name and click the Options button, tick the Create Bookmarks option, and select Word bookmarks option.