PRACTICE DIRECTION 5B – COMMUNICATION AND FILING OF DOCUMENTS BY E-MAIL

This Practice Direction supplements rule 5.5

Contents of this Practice Direction

Title Number
Scope and interpretation Para. 1.1
Communications and documents which may be sent by e-mail Para. 2.1
Technical specifications
Para. 3.1
Further provisions Para. 4.1
Statements of truth
Para. 5.1

Scope and Interpretation

1.1 This practice direction provides for parties to communicate and file specified documents with the court by e-mail in proceedings to which the Civil Procedure Rules apply. 

1.2 This practice direction—

(a) does not apply to proceedings which were issued in or transferred to the Chancery Division of the High Court, the Commercial Court, the Technology and Construction Court, the Mercantile Court, and the Admiralty Court, at the Royal Courts of Justice, Rolls Building, London (together, “the Rolls Building Jurisdictions”); and

(b) only applies to claims started under Practice Direction 7E (Money Claim Online) if the claim has been sent to a County Court hearing centre.

1.3 In this practice direction–

(a) ‘specified document’ means a document listed in the e-mail guidance (‘the e-mail guidance’) on Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (‘HMCTS’) website as a document that may be sent to a specified e-mail address;
(The e-mail guidance can be found at: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/email-guidance#canfile)

(b) ‘specified e-mail address’ means the email address for a court office which has been published on the Courts and Tribunals Finder website at: https://courttribunalfinder.service.gov.uk/courts/; and

(c) references to “e-mailing a court” mean e-mailing a court office at its specified e-mail address.

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Communications and documents which may be sent by e-mail

2.1 Subject to paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3, a party may e-mail the court and may attach or include one or more specified documents to or in that e-mail.

2.2 In the High Court—

(a) a party must not e-mail an application or other document to the court where a fee is payable for that document to be filed with the court; and

(b) the length of any attachments and total size of an e-mail must not exceed the maximum which the appropriate court office has indicated it can accept.

2.3 In the County Court—

(a) if a fee is payable in order for an e-mailed application or other document to be filed with the court, a party must, when e-mailing the court—

(i) provide a Fee Account number, credit card number or debit card number which the party has authority to charge for the applicable fee; and

(ii) authorise the court to charge the applicable fee to that Account or card number;

(Further information about using the Fee Account service may be found at: https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees/payment-by-account)

(b) when printed out on both sides of A4 paper, the following documents, together, must not exceed 25 sheets of paper in total—

(i) the e-mail;

(ii) any attachments, including any e-mail or document embedded in any attachment; and

(iii) copies of the documents in paragraphs (i) and (ii) that the court will serve where service is requested or required under the rules;

(c) only one e-mail, including any attachments, may be sent to the court to take any step in the proceedings and a party may not send another e-mail or a hard copy of any additional document as part of that step; and

(d) the total size of an e-mail, including any attachments, must not exceed 10.0 megabytes.

2.4 The court may refuse to accept any application or other document, including any attachment, e-mailed to the court where—

(a) a party does not comply with the provisions in paragraphs 2.2 or 2.3; or

(b) a fee is payable pursuant to paragraph 2.3(a) and the court has not been able to charge the fee to the Account or card number provided by the sender.

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Technical specifications

3.1 An e-mail sent to the court must—

(a) include the name and telephone number of the sender and an address for contact, which can be an e-mail address; and

(b) be in plain text or rich text format rather than HTML.

3.2 Subject to paragraph 3.3, correspondence and documents may be sent as either text in the body of the e-mail, or as one or more attachments.

3.3 Completed forms that are prescribed by a rule or practice direction must be sent as attachments.

3.4 Where a prescribed form requires that one or more documents must be attached to that form, that document or documents must be attached to the e-mail to which the form is attached.
(Court forms may be downloaded from HMCTS website at: http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/FormFinder.do)

3.5 Attachments must be sent in a format supported by the software used by the court office to which it is sent. The format or formats which may be used in sending attachments to a particular court office are listed in the e-mail guidance.

3.6 Where proceedings have been started, the subject line of the e-mail must contain the following information—

(a) the case number;

(b) the parties' names (abbreviated if necessary); and

(c) the date and time of any hearing to which the e-mail relates.

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Further provisions

4.1 Where a party sends an e-mail to the court they must not send a hard copy of that e-mail or any attachment to the court.

4.2 Where an e-mail, including any attachment, is sent pursuant to this practice direction and the e-mail is recorded by HMCTS e-mail software as received by the court at or after 4.00pm and before or at 11.59pm—

(a) the date of receipt of the e-mail will be deemed to be the next day the court office is open;

(b) the date of issue of any application will not be before that date; and

(c) any document attached to that e-mail will be treated as filed on that date.

4.3 It remains the responsibility of the party sending an application or other document to the court pursuant to this practice direction to ensure that it is received or filed within the applicable time limits, taking into account the operation of this practice direction.

4.4 A court officer may reply by e-mail where the response is to a message received at a specified e-mail address.

4.5 If a document sent by e-mail requires urgent attention, the sender should contact the court by telephone.

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Statements of truth

5.1 Where a party wishes to file a specified document containing a statement of truth by e-mail, that party should retain the document containing the original signature and file with the court a version of the document satisfying one of the following requirements—

(a) the name of the person who has signed the statement of truth is typed underneath the statement; or

(b) the person who has signed the statement of truth has applied a facsimile of their signature to the statement in the document by electronic means.

5.2 The Court may require a party to produce the document containing the original signature.

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