The term ‘cutting the red tape’ is believed to have derived from the works of Charles Dickens; an international campaign in February marked the bicentenary of the writer’s birth.
The expression relates to avoiding bureaucratic barriers to fulfilling an objective and is often applied to government, corporations or other large organisations. It also refers to tape that is in fact now pink in colour (originally the red faded to pink over time, and therefore, probably to save money, it was later manufactured in pink!) which is used to tie up bundles of official papers. Pink tape is still in use today in legal circles. Such tape is strong, cotton-like material which has been dyed.
You will come across this tape in a variety of situations. For example, pink tape is used to tie up bundles of legal papers for sending papers to Counsel, green tape is used to sew up other documents, and black is/was used for wills and probate papers.
Legal firms have different preferences as to contemporary documents and deeds. In the Legal Secretary Diploma course, you are given instructions on how to set out a backsheet for a legal document. The methods of binding such documents are varied; some use a small corner of card with their firm’s name and logo printed on it where one staple suffices, and others prefer to bind their deeds using a binding machine. Types of binding machines also vary, such as a thermal binding machine which uses pre-glued spines. You apply the paper into the pre-glued spine and place it in the preheated holding tray on the machine. The machine heats the glue up. After the glue cools off, you have a well-bound document. Another option is a comb binding machine which first punches the holes for the paper; then you place a binding comb on the machine and pull a handle which opens the combs up for you so that you can place the comb through the holes and close the plastic comb.
However, some deeds must still be bound using the old-fashioned method of sewing the document together. Here are step-by-step instructions to assist you in sewing together a legal document:
When I first came to the law, sewing up documents was one of the first things I was taught by the legal executive I worked alongside, and perhaps one day you will be passing on these skills too.