Upload protocol for CaseLines

Upload protocol for CaseLines
November 17, 2021 mollerpienaar 0 Comments

INTRODUCTION

An upload protocol for use on CaseLines is vital to ensure a uniform approach to case presentation.

Since the introduction of CaseLines to the Gauteng division of the High Court, attorneys have struggled to meet the index and pagination requirements stipulated in the respective Practice Manuals .  As a result, all roleplayers have become frustrated.

Compliant attorneys’ indexing and pagination efforts are often made redundant by non-compliant opponents. Counsel spends countless hours amending heads of argument and practice notes due to numbering and document shuffling changes occasioned by parties “dumping” documents out of sequence and not in the appropriate folder.

The aforesaid unsatisfactory situation cannot continue.  A streamlined, unified solution is vital for a functioning judiciary.

The established, time-tested process for indexing and pagination court bundles prescribed in the Practice Manuals creates a standard and culture of certainty for all role players.

An upload protocol for CaseLines will assist practitioners and litigants in generating digital case records on CaseLines to the former unified standard prescribed by the Practice Manuals, with which all roleplayers are comfortable and familiar.

OBJECTIVES

  • The protocol’s objective is to prescribe rules on the numbering and description of sections and documents, how litigants must link and reference documents, and the general upload requirements that apply to all documents.
  • All roleplayers must stringently maintain the uploads to such a standard that, at any point in time, the current status of the case should be immediately evident from the Review pane of the case. The digital case record must be appropriately ordered at all times.

THE MEANING OF “UPLOAD”

Upload does not simply mean to “add to” or “dump on.” For purposes of an upload protocol for CaseLines, upload entails the entire process whereby practitioners and litigants compile all documents into a section or group of sections in a logical and structured manner.

Before attempting an upload, roleplayers must consider:

  • the purpose of the section, and
  • the relevance of the intended upload to the purpose of that section.

All roleplayers must only upload documents relevant to the purpose of the section to a specific section.

Litigants must at all times bear in mind that optimal navigation of the digital case record is vital to maintain ease of use and effectiveness for practitioners and the Court.

GENERAL PRINCIPALS OF CASELINES UPLOADS

The following general principles apply to all documents and uploads.

CASELINES DOCUMENT FORMAT

The document format must be reader-friendly.

Where annexures, or images vital to a dispute’s determination, are not legible or are unclear, practitioners must upload color/clear images immediately beneath the distorted ones.

Litigants must not upload a batch/selection of documents, or parts thereof, as one indivisible pdf document. Such an upload is not capable of optimal navigation, and the CaseLines index is then rendered worthless.

Litigants must upload each document and any annexure as separate items and to the appropriate sections. To achieve this requirement, Litigants must split every document into its smallest identified/referenced component before uploading it to CaseLines. For example:

Combined Summons

Particulars of Claim

Annexure A – Written lease agreement

or

Notice of Motion

Founding affidavit deposed to by Sherlock Holmes

Annexure “A” Image of the weapon found at the scene of the crime

Annexure “B” “Coroner’s report

Annexure “A” to Coroner’s report (annex B) – Blood report of Mary Poppins

or

Filing Notice: First Respondent’s Answering Affidavit

First Respondent’s Answering Affidavit deposed to by Lois Lane

Annexure “LL1” Report to the Chronicle

The reason for this requirement is to:

    • make it easy to quickly identify and navigate to a document (or portion thereof) using the CaseLines Index (situated to the absolute left of the Review pane);
    • suitably reference a specific portion of a document in practice notes and heads of arguments;
    • add hyperlinks (a link where a document is referenced in a record to the actual location of that document elsewhere on the digital case record, activated by clicking on a highlighted reference to it) to documents (or portions thereof);
    • upload the document or parts thereof to the appropriate sections.

For example, if a Litigant subsequently amend its Particulars of claim, the Litigant must

    • upload the filing notice: amended pages to the section: C Notices
    • move the pre-amended particulars of claim to section: B Pre-amended pleadings
    • upload the amended pages to section: A Pleadings

In the interest of limiting the number of pages uploaded to CaseLines, Litigants must

    • strip emails from their trails and pages containing irrelevant information like advertisements, anti-virus warnings, and confidentiality notices
    • avoid duplicate email trial uploads
    • Litigants must rotate documents to the upright position before uploading to CaseLines.

Remove document passwords before attempting to upload.

Don’t upload documents containing handwritten notes of either the litigants, practitioners, or counsel to CaseLines. The uploads must be clear from all such scribbles unless they are vital to determining the parties’ dispute.

Except for old cases pending before the introduction of CaseLines, Litigants must remove any previous numbering before uploading to CaseLines.  The ultimate aim is that the digital case record should only have one set of page numbers.

DOCUMENT DESCRIPTION ON CASELINES

Litigants must add a description to every document. This is not something new as it has all along been a requirement for all documents described in indexes. The advantage is that if once done properly on CaseLines it remains properly done.

The document description must make sense. A generic description generated by an office scanner, for example, doc1564000C00, is of no assistance and is not allowed.

A description of, for example, “Annexure A” or “A1” is not allowed. The description must contain sufficient detail to identify the content or deponent thereof, for example:

Annexure A Certified copy of the Birth Certificate of Jo Soap

Annexure B Founding affidavit deposed to by Sherlock Holmes.

Once described, it must be easy to quickly identify and navigate to a document using the CaseLines Index (situated to the absolute left of the Review pane).

If a practitioner uploads case law to CaseLines, the document description must be the case name.

It is meaningless to describe correspondence and emails as Attorney A letter to Attorney B, particularly if a number of them are dated the same day. Describe correspondence and emails by giving a short description of the content thereof.

CASELINES DIGITAL CASE STRUCTURE

If the upload protocol for CaseLines does not prescribe a digital case structure, uploads to the evidence management portal will fail.  Each litigant will follow its preference, making it difficult for a judge to read the papers and prepare for the hearing.

A proper upload protocol will take the functioning of the software and that of the court into account.  Ideally, a judge immediately wants to see what she must determine:  those documents should feature on the top of the list, followed by the supporting documents.

Having regard to the aforesaid, on CaseLines, sections numbered alphabetically follow after sections numbered numerically.

To ensure the objective of immediately identifying the case’s current status and assisting the judge in immediately determining what he must deal with, we propose the prescribed digital case structure for all cases in the Gauteng division should be is as follows.

Position Section number Case Category Special instructions

 

TOP 1 INDEX if a separate index is uploaded

otherwise, use the CaseLines Index (situated to the absolute left of the Review pane)

2-3 The sections and documents of

PENDING INTERLOCUTORY DISPUTES

once an interlocutory dispute has been dealt with, the litigants must move those documents as described under Interlocutory Applications hereinbelow

once the litigant moved the documents, the top section of the Review pane will then only display the sections and documents in the main application

SO

– if a litigant accesses a Review pane and sees sections numbered 2 (two) or further, it means that interlocutory proceedings are pending.

– if a litigant accesses a Review pane and sees sections number A and further, it means the main action/application is pending.

MIDDLE A-K The prescribed sections and documents of

ACTIONS OR MAIN APPLICATIONS

BOTTOM L and further The additional sections and documents that litigants may require

To achieve the prescribed digital case structure, litigants must strictly adhere to each case category’s prescribed section, numbering, and level format as set out hereinbelow. Strict compliance will ensure the documents for the specific hearing date will always reflect on the top of the Review pane and otherwise appear in the correct location.

INDEX

CaseLines generates an auto-index using the numbering, section, and document descriptions indicated by the litigants. This index displays to the absolute left of the Review pane.

Where litigants strictly adhere to this protocol’s prescripts, a manually prepared index is not necessary.

Litigants may upload a manual index to the case record where it is expedient to do so. Such an index must

  • cross-reference both the CaseLine page numbers and another page number sequence;
  • be contained in a single document containing all bundles referenced.

Litigants must create a separate section described as “Index” with section number 1 and section level 1 to facilitate uploading: this will ensure that the index appears at the top of the screen.

CASE CATEGORIES

APPLICATIONS (EXCLUDING INTERLOCUTORY APPLICATIONS)

These prescribed formats apply to both opposed and unopposed motions.

PRESCRIBED SECTIONS

Litigants must create the following prescribed sections.

Section Number Description Section Order
A Notice of Motion and Affidavits A
B Additional documents B
C Directive Compliance Declaration C
D Application for a hearing date E
E Final Notice of Set Down F
F Practice Notes, Heads of Argument, Certificate of urgency, List of authorities & Chronology List G
G Draft orders H
H Judicial remarks I
I Invitation list J
J Signed court orders K
K Late filing L
L and further (Such additional sections as may be required)

When appropriate, litigants may create sections in addition to those prescribed above. Such sections must be added to the bottom of the section list.

SECTION NUMBER AND SECTION ORDER

Litigants must use alphabetical letters, A to K, to create the prescribed sections (as set out above)

The section order must correspond with the section number (as set out above).

Adherence to the section number, description, and ordering prescripts will ensure that judges, advocates, and attorneys know precisely where to search for a specific document.

For example:

  • the Answering Affidavit of the Respondent will always be under Section A: Notice of Motion and affidavits.
  • For applications, the practice notes will always be under Section F
PURPOSE AND METHOD OF UPLOAD FOR EACH SECTION
SECTION A: NOTICE OF MOTION AND AFFIDAVITS

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order the Notice of Motion and all affidavits exchanged between the parties.

The Applicant must upload the Notice of Motion, founding affidavit, and any annexures (as separate items), commencing from document number 1.

The Respondent must upload the answering affidavit and any annexures (as separate items) using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Applicant.

The Applicant must upload the replying affidavit and any annexures (as separate items)using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Respondent.

Where different attorneys represent multiple respondents, the Respondents are released from their numbering duties. The Applicant must then do so.

Litigants must not replace the original notice of motion with any amended version thereof. Documents must as far as possible retain their original location and document number on the digital case record.  In this event, the amended Notice of Motion must follow the chronological sequence in which it was filed.  Counsel must, however, reference the correct location and page number of the amended Notice of Motion in their practice note and heads of argument so that the presiding judge is immediately aware of the proposed amendment.

SECTION B: ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order all other documents generated during the application, i.e., documents that do not belong to another prescribed section.

The Applicant must upload the return(s) of service, commencing from document number 1.

The Respondent must upload the Notice of Intention to oppose using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Applicant

Litigants must upload all further documents in chronological order using the next chronological document number following the last number used.

SECTION C: DIRECTIVE COMPLIANCE DECLARATION

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order all directive compliance declarations generated during the application.

The Applicant must upload its directive compliance declaration, commencing from document number 1.

The Respondent must upload its directive compliance declaration using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Applicant.

SECTION D: APPLICATION FOR A HEARING DATE

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order the documents required to apply for a hearing date.

To help the Registrar quickly identify current applications, the party applying for a date must move all old application documents (using the next chronological document number following the last number used) to section B Additional documents before inviting the Registrar to the case.

SECTION E: FINAL NOTICE OF SET DOWN

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order the Final Notice of set Down and all documents relating to it.

The party setting the matter down must move all old set down documents (using the next chronological document number following the last number used) to section B Additional documents before inviting the Registrar to the case.

SECTION F: PRACTICE NOTES, HEADS OF ARGUMENT, CERTIFICATE OF URGENCY, LIST OF AUTHORITIES & CHRONOLOGY LIST

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order all the practice notes, heads of argument, certificate of urgency, list of authorities, and chronology list that applies to that specific hearing.

The Applicant must upload its documents (as separate items), commencing from document number 1.

The Respondent must upload its documents (as separate items), using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Applicant.

Litigants must move all old documents that do not apply to the specific hearing (using the next chronological document number following the last number used) to section B Additional documents.

SECTION G: DRAFT ORDERS

The purpose of this section is to group and chronologically order all draft orders that apply to that specific hearing.

The Applicant must upload its draft order and annexures (as separate items), commencing from document number 1.

The Respondent must upload its draft order and annexures (as separate items), using the next chronological document number following the last number used by the Applicant.

Litigants must move all old draft orders that do not apply to the specific hearing (using the next chronological document number following the last number used) to section B Additional documents.