There is no order but chronological order (II)

Even if it seems like a good idea to arrange the papers in the bundle in some order other than strict chronological order, it isn’t. Really and truly.

One particular situation in which people compiling bundles tend to be tempted to use a non-chronological order is in discrimination cases where actual comparators are involved. Sometimes you see a bundle separated into ‘claimant documents’ and ‘comparator documents.’

But the point of a comparator is to compare. So – for example – if you are saying you applied for a promotion, and someone less well-qualified than you was appointed, the bundle will contain in your application and his. The tribunal is going to want to look at the two applications and compare them. That will be inconvenient if there are two or three hundred pages between them: either the tribunal (and everyone else) will keep having to turn backwards and forward through a fat wodge of paper – or else they will have to pull one of the applications out of the bundle so as to be able to look at it side-by side with the other.

If the documents are in strict chronological order, the two applications are likely to be next to each other in the bundle, or very close – so flipping from one to the other and back again for the purposes of comparisons will be easy.

This is a particular instance of the general observation that tribunals generally prefer to hear stories in chronological order – so that is the order in which, by and large, they will expect witnesses cross-examined. So in general (there will be exceptions of course), if you need to cross-examine a witness on a number of different documents, you will start by asking them to open the bundle near the front, and then you will work through it towards the back.

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