There is a level of risk for a local authority or law firm in sending a bundle electronically which is why it's important to make security a top priority. Should you send sensitive or confidential files by email? No! Sending an email is about as secure as sending a post card. Emails often get sent to the wrong recipient, or require file attachments to be split into multiple parts. There's the risk of somebody intercepting your email and being able to read the contents. You also have to bear in mind compliance regulations such as GDPR, where regulators & authorities (like the SRA and the ICO, respectively) highly advise against sending confidential or sensitive information in an email. It's because of this that finding a way to get a bundle to court electronically can be a tricky one. The courts often ask for a simple to use PDF to be sent via email. However, as we've said, email is not secure, and a large bundle attachment can often be way larger than what an email can handle. And if it goes wrong, the court didn't send it - you did!
Let’s look at the two processes here: one, how do we create a bundle, and two, how do we send it securely?
What is a bundle? A bundle is essentially a pack of information that allows both parties and the judge in a legal hearing to easily access and refer to any and all relevant documentation regarding a case.
This is best achieved using a specialist bundling tool, which makes the whole process slick and efficient. The two we see most often are PDFDocs and Zylpha. These tools will take any source files, Word documents, images etc., and turn them into a beautifully generated bundle complete with slip sheets and your company's standard formatting: letterhead, fonts, etc. You'll get indexing, pagination, the whole lot! This saves a vast amount of time versus manually creating an electronic bundle using something like Adobe Acrobat.
If you are creating your bundle via a free solution, you'll need to spend time collating all individual documents, creating an index for them all, remembering to add page numbers, and then link all the pages together. To be in line with the courts requirements if you're sending a PDF, you'll also need to enable OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to allow for all the page text to be searchable. You'll also need to ensure each page has a zoom level of 100% by default. Many courts are also asking for the eBundle to be sent with a password enabled to access it. Once this tedious process is complete, you can then start to think about sending it!
Sending bundles to courts in a secure fashion is the hard part. There is not always just one sole person available to receive the bundle, more often than not it is a shared role. This means that conventional file sharing tools like Egress often aren’t much use as they demand recipient passwords and accounts. Our safedrop sharing solution works really well here as security can be achieved with a choice of email tokens, short expiry times and self-destruct messages. This provides you with the flexibility and assurance that your bundles can be retrieved securely. It also saves time on manually sending multiple pieces of one bundle, which can be incredibly time consuming!
We recommend setting a password for your safedrop, as well as using the email verification method. This means your bundle will be secure, but still easy to access by the court. The trick with safedrop is that you can still use your tried and trusted method of sending an email, but take advantage of an easy to use system that is secure. You're essentially just sending a secure link, so even if someone intercepts your email, they still will need to get through your safedrop's security options.
Bundle Delivery from home?
Getting a bundle to court from home is also a lot easier as well when you have slick systems like those we've mentioned. Using a bundling software to index paginate and generally organise your bundles incredibly useful if you're still working from home and if you want to also save on a ton of paper and a ton of hassle. Many bundles end up being prepared up to a week before a hearing is due to take place which means they can be a mad rush when trying to pull everything together. To avoid a lacklustre bundle and get the most information you can, using a top bundling tool whilst sending it electronically can be a game changer. It removes geographic and logistical boundaries, but is in keeping with the court(s) requirements. We'll help you meet the courts requirements and get your bundle securely delivered on time.
Which courts will accept my electronic bundle?
How can I try this out?
We've partnered with Zylpha to offer you a free trial account that will allow you to create five free bundles. This means you can get started with your bundles at no cost. If you already have bundling, why not grab a test Safedrop account for free here. This is a fantastic opportunity to get your bundles to court with ease!
Using a service such as safedrop removes the friction of sending a bundle to court, making it quick and easy to deliver it all relevant parties.
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