Lord Justice Jackson has refused all parties in a case any costs of preparing a bundle coming to more than 2,500 pages.
Ruling in Iliffe & Anor v Feltham Construction Ltd & Ors, a contract dispute between a building firm and property owner, Jackson dedicated a section of his judgment to highlighting his disquiet about the Court of Appeal bundle.
Jackson noted that the present bundle contained 2,550 pages, including ‘numerous’ duplicates and ‘irrelevant’ documents. This included at least two copies of an expert report and two copies of a contract.
He cited practice directions setting out clearly what should be included and omitted from bundles and said these had not been followed in this case.
‘The arrangement of the correspondence is, to put it charitably, chaotic,’ said Jackson, whose reforms formed the basis of new Civil Procedure Rules introduced in 2013.
‘The appeal bundle should be an aid to the court, not an obstacle course. The practice direction governing the conduct of appeals is not difficult to understand. It serves a serious purpose. Experienced practitioners should do what it says.’
Jackson said he needed to ‘track down’ an important letter at page 1,807, with the follow-up letter not discovered until page 2,148.
Amongst the ‘jumble of correspondence’ were copies of superfluous authorities, with the chronology not containing any page references to help the ‘hapless judge as he/she struggles to piece together the story of what happened’.
Jackson ruled that whatever the outcome of the appeal, no party will be entitled to recover any costs referable to the preparation of the bundle.