Requirements for filing documents

Whether you are starting or defending a claim, you will generally need more than one copy of each document:

  • one copy to be filed with the court
  • one copy to be served on every other person who is a party to the proceedings (and any other people the court says)
  • one copy for your own records.

How to set out court documents

Documents filed in a District Court have to be set out in the way described in rules 5.5 to 5.13 of the District Courts Rules (external link)

The following list outlines how court documents should be set out:

  • Good-quality A4 paper should be used.
  • The content of documents must be clear and legible, and should be typewritten or printed (except for the date and any signatures).
  • There should be a margin that is at least a quarter of the width of the page on the left-hand side of the page (or on the right-hand side if the back of a page is used).
  • If a document is signed, the signature must be original and the name of the person who signed it should be clearly printed underneath the signature.
  • Every document should have a coversheet that describes the document and includes a heading and the information required by rule 5.13 (external link) . The coversheet should also include the next event date, if there is one, and the name of the Judge presiding over the matter, if known. Nothing should be printed or written on the back of the coversheet.
  • All pages except the coversheet should be numbered.
  • All the pages of a document must be securely fastened together.
  • Documents should be divided into paragraphs that are numbered consecutively, starting with the number 1.
  • Each paragraph should deal with a single topic.
  • If a document does not comply with the requirements set out in the District Courts Rules, court staff (Registrars or Deputy registrars) may refuse to accept it for filing. If you disagree with a decision not to accept a document for filing, you can apply for a review of the decision under rule 2.12 within 5 working days:
    Rule 2.12 (external link)

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