Electronic Working in Family Proceedings – Revised Practice Note

  • 19/10/2018

 Electronic Working in Family Proceedings

The Family Court Sitting in Greater Manchester

Revised Practice Note – September 2018

 In 2015, we began the move away from paper-based systems in family work in Greater Manchester, with an expectation that documents would only be filed electronically and wherever possible, bundles would be generated and lodged by that means.

Since that time, we have significantly improved the procedures which underpin this method of working and, in turn, the requirements of court users when corresponding with the court or lodging documents or bundles have changed.

This updated Practice Note is intended to assist practitioners and litigants to first understand the revised expectations upon them and then second to comply with them. The Practice Note has immediate effect.

This Practice Note applies to public law children matters, private law children matters and applications made under Part IV Family Law Act 1996 for non-molestation and occupation orders. It does not yet extend to divorce or family money matters, adoption and Court of Protection applications or those matters where protection is sought against forced marriage or female genital mutilation.


An electronic file (e-file) is created for each case upon issue. There is no “paper” file.

  1. Parties must file all documents and correspondence with the court by sending them by email to [email protected]
  2. The subject line of the covering email must, as a minimum, include the correct case number (with no spaces or slashes or hyphens in it) and child’s surname – this will ensure that the correspondence/attachments reach the correct e-file within minutes of their receipt by the court
  3. Please do not include multiple case numbers in one email as this will cause additional administration and delay the filing process.
  4. You can add more than one attachment to an email if required.
  5. The naming convention governing the title of the documents lodged has changed significantly. The title of any attachment to the email must now consist of only the following:
    1. What the document is – eg ‘Statement’ or ‘Section 37 report’ or ‘C2’
    2. Who the maker of the statement/report is, eg ‘John Smith’ or ‘X Borough Council’
    3. The date of the document eg 1.10.18 or 1 October 2018
  6. It is generally no longer necessary, or desirable, to have at the start of (or anywhere within) the title of the document:
    1. the case number;
    2. the child’s surname (unless own system requires it)
    3. the date in reverse order
  7. If the email is genuinely urgent, that must be stated in the subject line
  8. A hard copy of the email/attachment must not be sent to the court

Please note: If the correct naming convention is not used, the document will not be deemed to have been filed with the court


No later than 12 noon, 3 working days before any family hearing, the party in the position of applicant at the hearing (or, if that person is a litigant in person, the first listed respondent who is not a litigant in person) shall provide the court with an electronic bundle of documents which has been prepared in accordance with PD27A FPR 2010 by emailing to [email protected] either:

  1. A link(s) to access and download the electronic bundle from a cloud-based storage system; or
  2. A complete copy of that electronic bundle, indexed and paginated in compliance with PD27A

Scanning documents for emailing to the court

If scanning a document in pdf format to attach it to an email to the court (including bundles as per option b above) please be aware that the court cannot receive emails containing attachments with a physical size of 14MB or more. If you attempt to email a document or bundle of that size, it will be automatically rejected and will not be received.

However, all pdf-generating software and scanners have options which permit the file size of a scanned document to be reduced without impacting adversely upon someone’s ability to read the document in question.

Please ensure that wherever possible bundle file size is optimised/reduced by utilising these options, enabling it to be received by the court as one composite bundle, rather than several disorganised sections attached to multiple emails.

Please do not attempt to compress (zip) the documents to reduce the document size as this will cause complications with our automated filing process.

Finally, please note:

  1. The court will not accept paper bundles unless one has been specifically directed by the judge.
  2. The party providing the bundle must also bring to court on the day of the hearing a witness bundle in hard copy whenever it appears that oral evidence may be given at such a hearing. It will be the obligation of that party to retrieve the witness bundle at the conclusion of the hearing. Bundles will not be held by the court or made available for subsequent collection.
  3. Only where directed by the court, the party providing the court/witness bundle may also be required to provide a hard copy of the witness bundle to an unrepresented party.

This local Practice Note is issued on 1st October 2018 by Her Honour Judge Newton, Designated Family Judge for Greater Manchester.