CA threatens costs penalty for non-compliant authority bundles

Bundles: Practice direction largely ignored

The Court of Appeal has warned parties that they can expect to be denied recovery of the costs of preparing non-compliant bundles of authorities.

In a postscript to Parr v Keystone Healthcare Ltd & Ors [2019] EWCA Civ 1246, Lord Justice Lewison said it was “a matter of considerable regret” that the practice direction on the citation of authorities – at [2012] 1 WLR 780 (referred to in PD 52C paragraph 29 (2)) – had been “almost wholly ignored”.

The judge complained: “We were supplied with print outs and handed down transcripts of authorities that have been reported in the official law reports… Unreported cases were cited for propositions that could be found in reported ones.

“The whole of my gargantuan judgment in Ultraframe (UK) Ltd v Fielding (which runs to 494 pages) was copied, even though only a few pages were of any conceivable relevance to the issues on the appeal. Contrary to PD 52C paragraph 29 (2) many of the authorities were supplied without marking the relevant passages.”

Lewison LJ said Court of Appeal judges only had “limited time” for pre-reading in advance of an appeal.

He continued: “Adherence to the practice directions means that that limited time can be more productively spent. Parties can expect that the cost of preparing a non-compliant bundle of authorities is at risk of being disallowed.”

The case concerned a dispute between two directors of a healthcare recruitment company and a former director. The court upheld the decision at first instance in favour of the company.

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