The High Court has adjourned part of a case due to inaccurately paginated bundles by one of the parties, ordering them to pay any costs incurred by the delayed hearings.
The Honourable Mr Justice Edwards-Stuart (pictured) said that any sensible pre-reading he could have done for the case was ‘derailed by the manner of pagination’ and directed the bundles to be returned to the party’s solicitors, Weightmans, for correction.
PM Project Services v Dairy Crest centred on three contested claims relating to invoices totalling £1.2m for construction work carried out by PM. But two of the claims, which were supported by a witness statement backed up by 750 pages of exhibited documents, were adjourned.
Edwards-Stuart said: ‘Unfortunately the page references in Mr Dean’s witness statement are different from those in the bundle prepared for the hearing and the original page numbers have not been retained.’
He added: ‘Thus, when Mr Dean refers to a TS01 Report dated 8 December 2015 at paragraph 22 of his witness statement, which is said to be found at pages 174-186 of his Exhibit MD6, this is of little help because that exhibit starts at page 400.
’Although it is not obvious, a careful perusal of the exhibits reveals that there is an index to each exhibit inserted behind the cover sheet. If one works one’s way through the index for Exhibit MD6, the TS01 Report is shown as being at page 24. It is, in fact, at page 428 of the bundle. It is not at page 424, as one might expect, because a spreadsheet running to four numbered pages has been inserted immediately behind the index.’
After two hours into the three hours allocated for pre-reading, the judge concluded that the ‘handicap’ created by the incorrect pagination would ‘prevent the necessary amount of reading taking place before the hearing’. He said he was not prepared to hear the second and third limbs of the application.
He added: ‘I have directed that when this judgment has been handed down the bundles are to be returned to PM’s solicitors in order that the witness statement of Mr Dean can have the correct bundle references inserted.
‘The costs of that exercise and any costs thrown away by the necessity to adjourn the second and third limbs of the applications must be borne by PM.’