In Judge President’s Practice directive 1 of 2021, Judge President D Mlambo yesterday directed a more uniform approach to CaseLines uploads in the Pretoria and Johannesburg High Courts. We welcome the direction and encourage colleagues to apply the guideline principles set out in paragraph 7.1.4 of the directive, suitably adjusted, to motions. A uniform approach to CaseLines uploads was long overdue and will have several benefits for attorneys and judges alike.
The benefits of a uniform approach to CaseLines uploads are:
Avoid repeating uploads and document duplications
When both sides to a dispute know what the upload rules are, they can avoid repeating the same upload and duplicating documents. Both the plaintiff’s representative and the defendant’s representative then know precisely how and where they must upload documents to CaseLines. One will not encounter one party thoughtlessly uploading documents on the portal, necessitating the other party to redo all those uploads to rectify court bundle indexing and pagination.
CaseLines operates in a specific manner that, when used correctly, saves legal costs. With a uniform approach to CaseLines uploads, the Judge President achieves the objective to have a functioning digital case management portal that will save the taxpayer and litigants money. Duplication of data and the volume of records that the Department of Justice must retain are then truly limited to the minimum.
Judges and attorneys often waste valuable court time searching for a particular document. When attending the unopposed motion court, one often hears the judge asking “where will I find” one or another document. When the courts follow a uniform approach to CaseLines uploads, the judge and all the parties will know where to search for a specific record: they need not read through unnecessary pages to find the one they seek.
Registrars and attorneys will also benefit from a uniform approach to CaseLines uploads. The Registrar need not scroll through the entire court file to find the documents that apply to the allocation of hearing dates. Accordingly, they could process more hearing date applications daily than when the court file is inappropriately arranged and sorted.
A uniform approach to CaseLines further enables attorneys to, at a glance, determine if a court file contains all the documents necessary for the hearing of a matter. An experience litigant knows what documents to include in specific applications. When the court file is appropriately arranged and sorted, the attorney will save time determining which records are outstanding.
Remember to regard the general rules that apply to the indexing and pagination of court papers when you consider the uniform approach to CaseLines uploads. You can read more hereon at http://www.derebus.org.za/court-bundles-how-to-prepare-them-properly/.