Practice note by Senior Master Fontaine: The Electronic Working Pilot Scheme

QUEEN’S BENCH DIVISION

1. Following the amendments to PD51O (The Electronic Working Pilot Scheme) which came into effect on 1 January 2019, the Electronic Working Pilot Scheme (“the EWPS”), has commenced in the Queen’s Bench Division of the Royal Courts of Justice (save for the Administrative Court), using the new CE-File electronic court file.

2. Court users are able to file documents electronically direct to the court file. Court Users can sign up to use electronic filing by logging on to https://efile.cefile-app.com. This note is intended to explain what the practical effects of the EWPS. Further practical guidance for users of CE-file can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ce-file-system-information-and-support-advice

3. All Claims and Appeals issued on and after 17 November 2018 are now managed through CE File and all documents filed are held on CE-File. Some Claims (not Appeals) issued before 17 November 2018 have also been migrated to CE-File and parties can also file documents in and case manage such cases electronically. Parties can also request that a claim (not Appeals) be migrated to CE-File.

4. All historic claims held on CE-File will be allocated a new style claim number. The old claim number will not be recognised by CE-File. It will only be necessary to provide the court with the old number where a payment out is to be made of funds paid into court prior to 17 November 2018.

5. Claims and Appeals will be managed as far as possible from CE-File. All documents filed with the court will be scanned to the electronic file, and case management will be carried out using that file unless the volume of documents makes that impractical. If paper versions of documents are required a direction will be given to lodge further paper copies, usually in the form of a bundle. The court will not maintain a paper file for claims filed and managed on CE-File.

6. The only exception will be original documents that are required to be filed with the court pursuant to an order or a provision of the CPR. Original documents will be retained, as now, in a separate secure storage area. Original documents must be clearly marked as such with a front sheet marked in a font of not less than 14 point:

“CLAIM NO. XXXXXX
ORIGINAL DOCUMENT – NOT TO BE DESTROYED”

7. Draft Orders must be filed as Word documents. All other documents filed must be in pdf format.

8. Any documents filed with or attached with a statement of case must be filed as a separate pdf document in the document field marked “associated filing”.

9. Exhibits, Annexes and Appendices must each also be filed as an associated filing to the main document.

10. Where a document or statement of case is subject to a confidentiality or anonymity order the party filing the same must request confidentiality in the appropriate field in the Filing Information screen and must state the reason for such request in the Documents Comments filed (e.g. Order dated 00/00/2019). If an anonymity order is in place, the party filing any document affected by such order must also file a redacted copy of the document. The redacted copy should be added as an associated filing. Only the associated filing will then be visible to public search.

11. A hard copy hearing bundle is required for every hearing. If no bundle has been lodged, the hearing may be adjourned to the next available date.

12. Responsibility for lodging the hard copy hearing bundle will normally fall on the applicant, or the claimant for a CMC or CCMC. This general rule will apply whether or not the applicant is a Litigant in Person, unless a represented party has been directed by a judge or agreed in writing to assume responsibility for the production of the hard copy hearing bundle. The parties must co-operate with each other and all parties have responsibility for ensuring that the court receives a bundle lodged two clear days before the hearing, save where this is impossible due to the urgent nature of the hearing. Late service of documents is not a reason to delay lodging the hard copy bundle. If necessary, documents may be added to the bundle.

13. Hearing Bundles must be removed or collected by the parties within 7 days of the hearing unless the judge directs otherwise. If not removed they will be disposed of by the court as confidential waste.

14. Correspondence with the court and documents to be filed must not be sent by more than one medium.

Senior Master Fontaine
Queen’s Bench Division

11 February 2019