Monday Mirth : Sedley’s Laws of Documents (an oldie but a goodie)
The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Sedley of the Court of Appeal.
First Law: Documents may be assembled in any order, provided it is not chronological, numerical or alphabetical.
Second Law: Documents shall in no circumstances be paginated continuously.
Third Law: No two copies of any bundle shall have the same pagination.
Fourth Law: Every document shall carry at least three numbers in different places.
Fifth Law: Any important documents shall be omitted.
Sixth Law: At least 10 percent of the documents shall appear more than once in the bundle.
Seventh Law: As many photocopies as practicable shall be illegible, truncated or cropped.
- At least 80 percent of the documents shall be irrelevant.
- Counsel shall refer in court to no more than 10 percent of the documents, but these may include as many irrelevant ones as counsel or solicitor deems appropriate.
Ninth Law: Only one side of any double-sided document shall be reproduced.
Tenth Law: Transcriptions of manuscript documents shall bear as little relation as reasonably practicable to the original.
Eleventh Law: Documents shall be held together, in the absolute discretion of the solicitor assembling them, by:
- a steel pin sharp enough to injure the reader,
- a staple too short to penetrate the full thickness of the bundle.
- tape binding so stitched that the bundle cannot be fully opened, or,
- a ring or arch-binder, so damaged that the two arcs do not meet.