Overview

 

The purpose of this document is to provide a step-by-step guide on the preparation and transfer of documents to Opus 2. Following these steps will ensure the upload process is quick and efficient, and the parties avoid incurring unnecessary or additional fees for documents and / or load files provided in the wrong format.


The aim of the upload process is to get the parties’ documents onto the Platform in an agreed structure and to assign each document unique bundle, tab and page references.  This information enables documents to be specifically referenced during the hearing and be cross-referenced easily.


The fundamental way to achieve this, which we will explain, is by providing Opus with a set of documents alongside an accompanying Excel load file. The load file would contain any metadata to be applied, at the minimum the bundle, tab and name, and ensuring there are unique filename values assigned to each entry which match exactly to the corresponding documents' filename.

 

1. Your Documents

 

The location of your documents will determine the process you need to follow when providing documents for upload - this guide firstly covers the preparation of documents that are hosted on the legal team's internal network drive / local machines and secondly, where documents are hosted on a disclosure platform, such as Relativity.


Documents need to be formatted and provided as either:


1. Unitised, optimised and OCR'd PDFs; or

  1. Documents that exceed 1,000 pages should be volumised into sections of 500 pages for optimum performance on the platform. Please reach out to your Solution Operations Manager for further guidance on this if necessary.
  2. Interactive features available in PDF Software (such as comment boxes or sticky notes) are specific to that software and will not be accessible on the platform. Users will need to download the underlying, original file to access these features offline, assuming that they have the relevant software available locally on their machine.


2. Native files that do not convert to PDF with acceptable formatting, such as Excel, Project, Audio and Video.

  1. Natives will be represented on the platform via a hyperlinked slip-sheet from which the parties can download the native file locally to view it offline.
  2. Any documents that can be opened using Microsoft Office applications or Adobe Reader as well as video files can be shown by our EPE Operator during the hearing, noting that Access and video files may need to be tested. If there are any files that require more bespoke software, we may not be able to present them and you will need to liaise with your Case Manager to discuss the available options closer to the hearing.


N.B. 

  • Each document should be provided as a standalone file e.g. if a bundle is comprised of ten documents, they should be sent as ten individual files, as opposed to one singular PDF and all assigned their own unique metadata
  • Optimisation ensures the PDF is sized efficiently for the page count and content contained, enabling documents to be loaded quickly.
  • The OCR process ensures the PDF is text searchable, enabling users to search content and utilise the full functionality of the platform

 

Preparation of Document Deliveries by Legal Team

 

It is common for certain bundles to be provided directly by the instructing Legal Teams – all bundles can be provided in this way but more often than not it is bundles such as Pleadings, Witness Statements, Expert Reports and Submissions.   These documents will normally be hosted on internal network drives, local computers or USB / hard drives.  To provide documents in this way please follow the steps below.
 

Preparing the Documents

 

  1. Create the folder on your computer with reference to the bundle or sub-bundle you would like to provide, for example ‘Bundle A’.

           
  2. Add relevant documents to the Bundle A folder, ensuring they are fully OCR'd and converted to PDFs where appropriate.

  3. Where possible, we would suggest documents are named in the format of 'Bundle_Tab' as this will ensure simple, unique filenames are applied, allowing the upload to be finalised as quickly as possible.  Alternatively, if you are unable to easily rename the documents, that shouldn’t be a problem provided that the values assigned are all unique. In any event, the filename value included within the load file must match the name of the documents exactly, as detailed in point 5a below.
    • Please see Appendix A below for guidance on how to easily generate a list of the Filenames.

       

Preparing the Load File

 

        4. Alongside the documents, we will need to be provided with an accompanying load file.  This will need to be provided             as an Excel spreadsheet, for example, XLSX, XLS, CSV etc. 


        5. The load file should include an individual row of metadata for each file provided. Furthermore, there are four                             compulsory columns that are required in order for us to upload the documents to the platform, as seen below.


Filename 

Bundle

Tab

Doc. Name

A_1

A

1

Re-Amended Statement of Claim

A_2

A

2

Re-Amended Defence and Counterclaim

A_3

A

3

Re-Amended Reply and Deference to Counterclaim

A_4

A

4

Respondent's Rejoinder to Reply and Defence to Counterclaim

A_5

A

5

Claimant's Skeleton Argument

A_6

A

6

Respondent's Skeleton Argument

A_7

A

7

Dramatis Personae

A_8

A

8

Claimant's Reply Skeleton

  1. Filename - Allows us to match the metadata to the corresponding document. Therefore, these values must be unique, and must reflect the name of the matching file exactly for us to automate the application of the metadata.
  2. Bundle - Identifies the bundle reference that your documents relate to within the wider hearing bundle structure.
  3. Tab - Identifies the sort order of documents within a folder.
  4. Doc. Name - Allows you to assign a description to each of your documents, for example, “Witness Statement of Graham Smith Bernal”.


    6. If you would like to add extra metadata fields to your documents, such as a Date, Disclosure ID, Parent ID, Sender and              Recipient fields, please append these as extra columns to the four above. 

  1. Dates should be provided in the format 'DD/MM/YYY' or 'DD/MM/YYYY hh:mm', and if you do not know the day or month you can substitute these sections with '00'. For example, if you know the document is dated July 2016 the format would be 00/07/2016. If no date is assigned, you can leave the cell blank.

 

Finalising the Document Delivery

 

    7. Once the load file is finished, please add your it to the folder. Then the folder will need to be formatted as a Zip file, by            right clicking on the folder and selecting 'Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder'.   


    8. The ‘Bundle A.zip’ folder is now ready to be sent over SFTP.


 

 

Preparation of Document Deliveries by Disclosure Team

 

Opus 2 are well versed in working with Disclosure Providers and ensuring that the process and transfer of documents is seamless.  Whilst all documents can be provided via a Disclosure platform, it is normally the Chronological Bundle and supporting documents that come from here. If documents are being provided by your Disclosure Team, we would suggest organising an early call to discuss the logistics and to make arrangements for sample documents and a sample load file to be provided. To provide documents in this way please follow the steps below.

 

Preparing the Documents

 

  1. Identify the documents on your disclosure platform to transfer to the Opus 2 platform.
  2. Export the documents from your disclosure platform as text searchable (OCR’d) PDFs or native files.
    N.B. You may have to export as image PDFs and then OCR them as a separate exercise

  3. All documents should be exported and named after their disclosure / unique ID.  These filenames should match the corresponding values in the agreed load file exactly.

       

Preparing the Load File

 

        4. Alongside the documents, we will need to be provided with an accompanying load file.   This will need to be provided             as an Excel spreadsheet, for example, XLSX, XLS, CSV etc.


        5. The load file should include an individual row of metadata for each file provided. Furthermore, there are four                            compulsory columns that are required in order for us to upload the documents to the platform, as seen below.


Bundle

Tab

Disclosure ID

Doc. Name

A

1

Opus0001

Re-Amended Statement of Claim

A

2

Opus0002

Re-Amended Defence and Counterclaim

A

3

Opus0003

Re-Amended Reply and Deference to Counterclaim

A

4

Opus0004

Respondent's Rejoinder to Reply and Defence to Counterclaim

A

5

Opus0005

Claimant's Skeleton Argument

A

6

Opus0006

Respondent's Skeleton Argument

A

7

Opus0007

Dramatis Personae

A

8

Opus0008

Claimant's Reply Skeleton

  1. Bundle - Identifies the bundle reference that your documents relate to within the wider hearing bundle structure.
  2. Tab - Identifies the sort order of documents within a folder.
  3. Disclosure ID - Allows us to match the metadata to the corresponding document. Therefore, these values must be unique, and must reflect the name of the matching file exactly for us to automate the application of the metadata. You can also use an exhibit reference or bates number in this column – the most important point is that it is a unique ID.
  4. Doc. Name - Allows you to assign a description to each of your documents, for example, “Witness Statement of Graham Smith Bernal”.

 

        6. If you would like to add extra metadata fields to your documents, such as a Date, Parent ID, Sender and Recipient                   fields please append these as extra columns to the four above. 

            a. Dates should be provided in the format 'DD/MM/YYY' or 'DD/MM/YYYY hh:mm', and if you do not know the day or                 month you can substitute these sections with '00'. For example, if you know the document is dated July 2016 the                     format would be 00/07/2016. If no date Is assigned, you can leave the cell blank. 

 

Finalising the Document Delivery

 

        7. Once complete please provide both the documents and the load file as a combined ZIP file.


        8. The ZIP file can be provided over Opus 2’s SFTP, the disclosure provider’s SFTP or via encrypted media.

 

2. Your Bundle Structure

 

When preparing an electronic hearing bundle, careful consideration should be taken with the bundle structure as this determines how efficient the bundle will be and therefore, impacts on the benefits of using an electronic system. 


The bundle structure is comprised of two elements: the folder system and the document pagination. In our experience, the greatest efficiencies are achieved when the bundle structure is kept as simple as possible and we have provided some best practice guidance within this section. 

  1. Folder System - All documents will be housed within folders on the platform, based on the bundle values assigned. We would suggest avoiding overly complex / deep subfolders structures as this requires users to click through several folders to navigate around the documents.

  2. Document Pagination - In order to reference documents on the platform and in the hearing room, users will need to utilise the pagination, consisting of the Bundle/Tab/Page values assigned as metadata. By default, this pagination is stamped on the documents, in the bottom right of each page.

 

Bundle Volumes

 

Each document will be assigned a Bundle reference as part the pagination.  For example, the first document in the Pleadings bundle might be assigned A/1/1. 


You can achieve further structural division by appending a volume number to the bundle values, therefore creating sub bundles, for example A1/1/1.  We have outlined below a couple of popular ways that bundles have been volumised in the past.

  1. Document Category Split – This enables you to group categories of documents together within a single bundle. For example, if you have all witness statement in bundle C you can divide these into two sub-folders and assign the bundle reference C1 to the claimant documents and C2 to the defendant documents.

  2. Bundle Management Split – This enables you to divide large bundles into more manageable sub-folders and we would recommend volumising bundles which contain over 1,000 documents. For example, if your Chronological Bundle consists of 5,000 documents, you might want to split the documents into 10 sub-folders, each assigned a bundle volume, to ensure that the folders load quickly and are easily navigable.

  

 

Tab Values

 

Each document will be assigned a numerical tab value as part of the pagination. This value denotes the order of the document within the bundle or sub bundle (if applicable). 

In order to keep the overall pagination as simple as possible, the first document within each bundle / sub bundle, should start at 1 and increase sequentially throughout the folder. 

 

Page Numbers

 

Each document will be assigned a page value as part of the pagination. By default, the page numbering will restart at 1 within each document as this keeps the pagination value as simple as possible. 


Historically page numbers have run sequentially through bundles to assist in navigating a hard copy bundle.  However, this unique pagination is not necessary with electronic hearing bundles because you view content on a document-by-document basis, with the tab values applied being the important unique identifier and the addition of sequential page numbering only serves to complicate these references. If hardcopies are required, we would be happy to advise on how best to structure these without the need for sequential pagination.


On top of this, we strongly recommend that sequential pagination is not used as this leads to a wholly inefficient use of the platform, as detailed below. 

  1. Sequential pagination can lead to huge page numbers which become unwieldy for both Counsel and the Judge, and often leads to inaccurate references being used during proceedings. This can therefore delay our EPE Operator when navigating to the document on the system and also makes it more difficult for the Transcribers to input accurate references into the transcript. The difference between sequentially paginating the documents or not can be the difference between referring to “Bundle H, Tab 450, Page 5” or the more cumbersome and avoidable, “Bundle H, Tab 450, Page 14,992”.

  2. Inserts into sequentially paginated bundles will take a lot longer for the team to action and will cost more for this reason. This is because each document will need to be manually paginated in addition to the standard upload process where sequential pagination has not been applied. From a practical point of view, during the hearing phase it would make it more difficult for the team to action any last-minute additions to the bundle.  

  3. Inserts can also become extremely difficult to manage in terms of format as both the tab and page numbers will require suffixing, leading to even more convoluted references (e.g. “.1”, “.01”, “.001”). For this reason, if parties wish to use sequential pagination, they must provide the bundle, tab and page reference needed for each document, as opposed to just the bundle and tab information.

 

Family Relationships

 

You can portray family relationships on the platform by utilising the Parent ID field. If populated correctly, the Doc. Name of any child documents will appear indented and italicised within the Documents index.



To implement family relationships on the platform, a Parent ID column will need to be included in the load file. The Disclosure ID of the parent document should be assigned as the Parent ID value for both the parent and all child documents.

 

Bundle

Tab

Disclosure ID

Parent ID

Doc. Name

Date

G

1

Opus0001

 

Press Release

10/01/2020

G

2

Opus0002

Opus0002

Email from Party A to Party B

15/01/2020

G

3

Opus0003

Opus0002

Attachment to Email

15/01/2020

G

4

Opus0004

 

Board Meeting Minutes

23/01/2020

G

5

Opus0005

 

Company Presentation

17/02/2020

G

6

Opus0006

Opus0006

Email from Party A to Party B

07/03/2020

G

7

Opus0007

Opus0006

Email Attachment 1

07/03/2020

G

8

Opus0008

Opus0006

Email Attachment 2

07/03/2020

 

3. Upload Protocol

 

Transfer of documents to Opus 2 must comply with either our default upload protocol or an updated upload protocol that the parties have agreed and confirmed in writing to Opus 2.


Until we receive written confirmation, any changes to the shared content must be agreed between the parties in advance of contacting Opus 2.  Once the parties have reached agreement, one party must provide an instructional email to the Solution Operations Team, ensuring appropriate representatives from all parties are in copy. Opus 2 will only action instructions where all parties are copied, on the assumption that the changes have been previously agreed. More information on the upload protocol can be found in the Service Overview document.  


Further to the above, and to ensure we comply with our ISO 27001:2013 accreditation, we are not allowed to accept documents being sent over email and ask that documents are provided using our SFTP site (Opus 2 Transfer), the parties own SFTP site or via encrypted media.

 

4. Further Considerations

 

Should you wish to stamp your PDFs with Disclosure IDs or Bates Numbers, we ask that this is located in the top / bottom left hand corner or the top / bottom centre of each page because the Opus 2 pagination stamp is located in the bottom right corner of each page.


Any redactions should be ‘burned in’ to the documents to ensure that any embedded underlying private or privileged information is not transferred i.e. the redacted text must not simply be hidden but permanently deleted.


Duplicates should not be uploaded to the platform to avoid complications with annotations, hyperlinking and referencing during the hearing. If you think your bundles contain duplicate documents, please contact your Solution Operations Manager who will be able to offer further guidance.  


5. Appendix A

Two methods for easily populating the Filename column in bulk 

 

i.   File Directory Listing

The most efficient approach will be to ask your IT team to produce a listing of all files within a folder structure (including subfolders), which will generate a list of the full folder paths. The folder paths can be included in an Excel spreadsheet and your IT team should be able to extract the filenames into a separate column. urthe 

These filenames can then be copied + pasted into the load file, along with the folder paths in a separate column if needed. 


ii.   Copy as Path (Windows OS)

You are able to copy the folder path from File Explorer and extract the filenames using Excel, however this is only on a folder-by-folder basis so may be cumbersome for large folder structures.  

  1. Open File Explorer, navigate to the relevant folder and highlight all of the files in the folder (Ctrl + A). 
  2. Hold down Shift + Right-Click on the highlighted entries > Select Copy As Path – this will copy the file path of the highlighted documents. 
  3. Paste the data into an Excel spreadsheet – this should populate cells with the file paths of the documents. 
  4. Remove any data before the names of the documents, leaving just the filename, i.e. ‘C:\Documents\Claimant's Expert Reports\First Expert Report of X.pdf’. To do so, please do the following: 
    1. Highlight the cells containing the file paths. 
    2. Open the Find & Replace tool (Ctrl + H). 
    3. Copy the prefix section of the folder path that you wish to remove, i.e. ‘C:\Documents\Claimant’s Expert Reports\’ (from the above example) and paste this into the Find what: box, leave the Replace with: box empty, and press Replace All – this will find all instances of the prefix and replace it with nothing, effectively leaving just the end filename, i.e. ‘First Expert Report of X.pdf’
  5. You can then reorder the filenames from step 4 as required and copy them into the load file, allowing you to then include the relevant metadata for each document.