Some solicitors add tabbed dividers to bundles. A small number of dividers – used to show, for example, where the pleadings end and the contemporary documents begin, and then where the contemporary documents end and and the correspondence between the parties begins – can be quite helpful in navigating a bundle during the hearing. The more expensive solicitors tend to put in a divider for each document. This is not only pointless: it is a significant obstacle to the smooth conduct of the hearing. The bundle gets fatter, which means everyone has to carry more paper around. The bundle is harder to flag clearly with multi-coloured sticky notes, because the tabs from the dividers get in the way. And worst of all, it gives representatives, witnesses and the tribunal two numbers to choose from. The resulting dialogue goes something like this:
Counsel: Please turn to page 76. This is an email from James Baxter to Fiona Marks of 25 October 2006.
Wing member: 76 isn’t an email in my bundle, it’s a long service award.
Chairman: My page 76 is an email. [Looks over his colleague’s shoulder.] Oh I see, you’ve got tab 76, you want page 76. Perhaps Miss Campbell it would be easier if you referred us to tab numbers not page numbers?
Counsel: of course. [Curses inwardly: she has cross-referenced her bundle to page numbers, so she will have to pause and find each page before she knows which tab to announce.]
[The following day, having added tab numbers to her cross-examination notes]
Counsel: Please turn to tab 45. These are your own hand-written notes of the meeting?
Witness [baffled]: er… no.
Counsel: Who do you say wrote them then?
Witness: Er… It says at the top ‘Emma Wilkes.’
Counsel [now also baffled]: Where does it say that? Ah, we may be at cross purposes. What page have you got?
Counsel: Can you find tab 45 in the second volume. Page 367.
This game can be played with each witness in turn, but it does not get any more entertaining.