This article outlines the procedure for general matters for the Federal Court. Separate rules exist for immigration matters. The Federal Court website provides a helpful template and sample indexes.
There are three parts to Federal Court Appeal Books. Stage one is preparing the Part A and B indexes which need to be settled by the Registrar. They should be agreed between parties before submission, otherwise the Registrar will defer to the parties to ensure only correct and relevant documents are included.
Once indexes are settled, Part A and B need to be prepared. The submissions and chronology are finalised later when it’s possible to know what is relevant to the Appeal. These documents shape Part C.
The Appeal Books are finished in folders with each document behind a divider according to the index. It’s copied double-sided and pagination is not required unless it’s pre-existing. The approach is common sense with ease of navigation and reference.
Part A contains a Core Set of Standard Items consisting of the process and pleadings, orders and reasons from which the appeal arises, the notice of appeal and any other formal documents filed in the appeal.
Part B is the comprehensive reference index (CRI) of all evidence from the Court below and detail is important. Include a breakdown of all documents with a specific and individual tab number (CRI reference number). Documents referenced in the index are not reproduced in Part B, rather the index provides a context for the documents. Only the relevant material is reproduced later in Part C.
This context and these CRI references are used to finalise submissions, so detail and accuracy is important to avoid issues later.
Part B can be filed separately as a stapled document. It’s usually filed with Part A and can be included in the same folder with a custom divider separating each section.
The final stage is Part C. The submissions and chronologies go in the order that they've been filed behind custom labelled dividers, followed by an Abridged Part B, referencing only documents relevant to the appeal as referenced in the submissions and chronology. These documents are reproduced in Part C.
The number of copies to be filed depends on whether the matter is being heard before a single judge or the full Court. For a single judge, only two copies – one for the Registry and one for the judge. For the full Court - a copy for the Registry and three copies for the judges.
There are no specific directions for electronic Appeal Books. It will usually be the judge’s discretion. They may want pdf format and if they need hyperlinks, it needs to be text searchable or they may just want the document book marked. It’s important to keep in mind during the process that this may be required.