So, a few months ago there was a flurry of notices about the collection of bundles at the end of court hearings, with stern warnings about who would be reported to the ICO for GDPR breaches if the right person didn’t take responsibility for the right bundle at the right time. Notices went up on court doors from HMCTS charmingly threatening to report advocates to the ICO for not taking away bundles. At the time I queried it via twitter (official designated route for all complaints these days) but then some other (I thought at the time, equally impenetrable) clariificatory guidance was issued and well, frankly, I was busy and life moved on.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one who decided life was too short.
However. Data protection IS important, and still about every other trial I conclude involves the same ill informed half hearted discussion between advocates and judge about what the latest guidance actually says, whether it is right and ultimately everyone decides to use common sense and take home their own bundles but not anybody else’s.
I’ve been working up to writing a – mercifully short – blog post to clarify the clarification for some time, and have only been slowed down only by the existence of a lot of naked woodwork in my house. Which has needed to be painted. And which I have chosen to watch dry in preference to writing this scintillating piece of prose…
But right now, after a wild frenzy of gloss painting, this seems like a welcome break. Such is the razzamatazz of life as an almost almost 45 year old….
Right. Let’s get to it. It’s actually pretty simples (I think – don’t take this as legal advice etc etc).
You need to read the Bar Council guidance issued in April here. Or, if you are the reckless sort, or just have a lot of wet paintwork to supervise urgently, you may read my precis of it here :
- Look after and take home your own bundles. Your responsibility.
- Don’t take responsibility for the court’s bundles (wtiness / judge bundles) unless you have specifically been authorised by the solicitor who produced them, Not your responsibility. But would become your uninsured risk…
- If you’ve agreed to bring judge / witness bundles on the day of a hearing you may be stuck with carting em back. I suggest you don’t agree to deliver bundles thus avoiding this issue (personally I think this is conduct of litigation but I know this is not a universally held view, but also it’s a DP risk. And just generally NOT. YOUR. JOB. Even if there is some guidance somewhere saying it is…). Those of you who have mercifully gone paperless and require only a backpack containing an embarrassing number of apple devices will be able entirely legitimately to claim that you cannot deliver the bundle anyway *sorry face* because you have no room in your bag. Those of you who are almost almost 45** or *gasp* even more ancient, will be able to appreciate the benefits of NOT carting around other people’s bundles. Your shoulders / back / knees will thank you…
So. It’s simples really. When someone tries to foist their oh so heavy bundle upon you just say no thanks. I’m paper free! And leave that courtroom light as a feather!
And yes, it’s slightly different I’m sure for those who are responsible for the conduct of the litigation and who have produced the wretched bundles. But I can only cram so much excitement into one blog post. Someone else can write about the position for solicitors….
** can you tell I have an impending birthday of doom…?