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Too much paper! 5 handy tips for managing your claims files

By Peter Johnston, Tuesday, 16 August, 2011, ,

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It’s a fact … Waitangi Tribunal claims create vast amounts of paper!  So how do you keep on top of it all?

Your lawyer will notify you of all documentation received and usually copies will be sent to you for your own records.  As time progresses, the file starts to swell and the shelf (if you have one) starts to sag.  Here are 5 handy tips to help you keep on top of managing your papers.

System – Devise a system that works for you from the start and stick with it.  Set up a dedicated bookshelf, area of the house, or office, where all claim documentation is stored, and explain to others how your system works.  Everyone involved then knows how it works and can keep the system going.

Read – Be vigilant and methodical and read all documentation promptly.  This will make you aware of any deadlines or urgent matters but will also help to determine relevance.  This also means you will keep up to speed with how things are progressing and will make filing the document easier.

Sorting – You will receive many different types of documents.  Keeping folders with dividers (or separate colour-coded folders) separately for these documents is best.  For example keep letters separate from research reports and store correspondence in data order.  Reports and submissions are usually stored in the record of inquiry index number given by the Tribunal (found in the top right hand corner of the front page of the document).  This will make referring to these documents, when needed, much easier.

Index – Keep and regularly update an index.  This will help you keep track of what documents you have and where they can easily be found.  This is also very important for others who may need to locate documents if you are not available.  Your lawyer can supply the latest record inquiry index.

Update – Update files regularly.  Some documents may need to be kept forever.  Some may not.  Always check with your lawyer before disposing of any claim documents. 

If you are just commencing a claim, we recommend that you begin now with a good filing system.  If your claim is underway, if you have not done so already, you will need to start sorting, indexing and updating without delay.

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