E-Filing/Electronic Working Scheme
The Electronic Working Scheme (CE-File) operates in the Commercial Court. This is an e-filing scheme which enables parties to use a dedicated website to issue proceedings and file documents at Court, 24 hours a day, all year round.
Further information on the Electronic Working Scheme is set out below.
Requirement to use the Electronic Working Scheme
Legally represented parties must use the Electronic Working Scheme to issue proceedings and applications in the Commercial Court.
Litigants in person may use the Electronic Working Scheme if they wish, but they do not have to: see Guide section M of the Commercial Court Guide (PDF).
Rules applicable to the Electronic Working Scheme
All users of the Electronic Working Scheme should familiarise themselves with Practice Direction 51O (external link) and Guide Appendix 12. Together, these contain the rules applicable to the scheme, including when it applies, how it operates, and the format and size of documents to be filed.
Accessing the Electronic Working Scheme
The website for the Electronic Working Scheme can be accessed online.
If you are a first-time user, you will need to register here before you can use the website. Once you have registered, you will be given access to an online account which you can use to file and receive documents. You will also be notified via your online account if your electronically filed documents have been accepted or rejected.
Date and time at which documents are deemed filed
Practice Direction 51O (external link) contains general rules governing the date and time at which electronically filed documents will be deemed to have been filed.
Issuing claim forms
As per paragraphs 7.1, 8.1 and 8.2 of Practice Direction 51O, claim forms submitted through the Electronic Working Scheme will be electronically sealed and returned to the originating party’s online account. The time it takes to process claim forms may vary. If you need to serve an electronically sealed claim form, you should ensure that enough time is allowed for electronic sealing to take place.
Ensuring electronically filed documents are accepted
Before filing documents electronically, it is important to check that:
• the documents being filed comply with the rules in Practice Direction 51O (external link) as to formatting and file size;
• the documents are correctly categorised (Guide Appendix 12 contains details of the categories that should be used); and
• that all necessary documents have been included in the filing. Details of the required documents can be found in Practice Direction 51O (link above).
Electronic filings that do not comply with the rules will be rejected.
If you are asking the Court to deal with an application on the documents without a hearing, you must take particular care to include all necessary documents with the filing: see Guide Section F.4. Attention is also drawn to the Commercial Court’s Guidance on electronic filing of documents for applications to be determined without a hearing, which was prepared by reference to the previous (10th) edition of the Commercial Court Guide.
You are invited to add comments in the “Filing Comments” or “Document Comments” box on the website if you wish to clarify anything to help to ensure that your filing is accepted.
Claim forms and application forms filed electronically should contain email addresses where these are asked for on the forms.
Rejected filings can be found under the “Filings” > “Rejected” tab, where you can amend and resubmit the filing without starting the filing from scratch.
Filing confidential documents
The Electronic Working Scheme website permits users to tick a ‘Request Confidential’ box if they need to file a confidential document or documents. The ‘Confidential Reason’ field should also be completed. It is recommended that a covering letter is also filed with the document(s) to explain the confidential nature of the filing.
Confidential documents may, alternatively, be emailed directly to the Commercial Court’s Listing Office, noting the reason for the confidential filing and confirming that the document(s) should not be placed on the court file. [To confirm this is acceptable with Listing Office prior to website go-live]
Please note that if there is an issue in Court proceedings as to whether a document is confidential, a Judge may need to rule on this.
Fees for electronic filing
In all cases where a rule or practice direction requires a fee to be paid for filing a document, the same fee will be payable if the document is filed electronically. The Electronic Working Scheme website will automatically calculate the fee due, but you must check that this figure is accurate against your own calculation of the fee that is due.
If you believe that the fee calculated by the website is different from the fee payable for the filing and need to pay the balance, or have any queries about the fee payable, please contact the Commercial Court’s Listing Office.
Find out more information about filing fees in the Commercial Court.