Bates Number

Definition of Bates Number

Bates Number is a unique, sequential identifier assigned to each page or document in a set of materials during the process of legal discovery, and it is used for easy identification and reference. The number is usually placed at the bottom or top corner of each page, and can also include a prefix, such as a case name or numerals. The concept is named after its inventor, Edwin G. Seibel, who developed the Bates Automatic Numbering-Machine in the late 19th century.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Bates Number” would be:Bayts Nuhm-ber

Key Takeaways

  1. Bates Numbering is a method used for organizing and uniquely identifying legal, business, and medical documents by assigning an incremental series of alphanumeric values or numbers.
  2. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the document’s integrity by keeping a consistent record and ensuring that the documents are easily accessible during investigation, discovery, and litigation processes.
  3. Bates Numbering can be applied either through traditional methods like bates labeling machines or using modern technologies like PDF software, making it highly adaptable and useful in various professional fields.

Importance of Bates Number

The technology term “Bates Number” is important, primarily in the legal industry, because it serves as a unique and consistent identifier for each document page during the e-discovery process.

Bates Numbering, also known as Bates Stamping, allows for easy organization, retrieval, and reference amongst large sets of documents, which is crucial when managing massive amounts of paperwork and digital files.

This systematic method of document identification streamlines the process of reviewing, producing, and presenting evidence in legal cases, ensuring the efficient exchange of information between parties, and enabling legal professionals to effectively manage complex litigation processes.


Bates numbering, often utilized in the legal, medical, and business industries, serves a significant purpose when it comes to organizing and referencing large volumes of documents. As these industries commonly generate numerous records, it’s crucial to establish an efficient system that can easily manage, categorize, and retrieve specific documents.

Bates numbering serves this exact function by assigning a unique identifier or label, typically consisting of a combination of sequential numbers and/or letters, to each individual page or image in a set. This streamlined approach enables users to effortlessly locate and reference specific documents amidst extensive collections, thereby expediting the searching and review process.

Moreover, Bates numbers play an invaluable role in litigation and document management. Legal professionals rely heavily on this system, particularly during the discovery phase, to ensure each piece of evidence is properly organized, tracked, and authenticated.

The efficacy of Bates numbering lies in its ability to maintain the integrity of documents and avoid any potential confusion, as each page is given a distinct identifier that remains constant, even if pages are re-ordered or removed. With a reliable labeling system in place, parties can easily cite and cross-reference these documents in their filings, depositions, and court testimonies, thereby improving the overall efficiency and accuracy of the legal process.

Examples of Bates Number

Bates numbering (also known as Bates stamping or Bates coding) is a method used to uniquely identify and label pages or documents for easy retrieval and reference. This system is widely used in legal, medical, and business environments. Here are three real-world examples of Bates Number technology:

Legal discovery process: During a lawsuit or investigation, parties often exchange large volumes of documents. Bates numbering becomes crucial in this process to keep track of these documents and ensure proper organization. Attorneys, paralegals, and other legal professionals use electronic or manual Bates numbering systems to assign unique identification codes to each document, making it easier for both sides to refer to specific pieces of information during the trial or negotiation.

Medical records management: Hospitals and other healthcare institutions handle large amounts of paperwork, including patient charts, treatment records, and billing documents. Bates numbering helps to manage these records by assigning a unique code to identify each document or page, streamlining the process of storing, retrieving, and cross-referencing patient information. In the event of a medical malpractice suit or audit, this system is essential for quick access to relevant documents.

Business and financial document management: In business and financial sectors, organizations often need to manage and reference large volumes of documents, such as contracts, invoices, and purchase orders. Bates numbering is employed in these industries to maintain proper organization and tracking of documents, particularly during contractual negotiations or financial audits. This system also makes it easier for accountants, managers, and other professionals to locate and reference documents when required.In all of these examples, Bates Number technology helps improve efficiency, reduce errors, and facilitate communication between parties by providing a standardized method for organizing and referencing documents.

FAQ: Bates Number

What is a Bates Number?

A Bates Number is a unique sequential identifier assigned to each page or document in a set as part of a numbering system. It is primarily used in legal, medical, and business fields to organize and easily reference individual documents within a large collection.

Why is the Bates Numbering system important?

The Bates Numbering system is essential for maintaining organization and consistency in document-heavy fields like law, medicine, and business. It is used for tracking, identifying, and referencing documents in an efficient manner, reducing the risk of miscommunication or loss of valuable information.

How is the Bates Numbering system used in legal proceedings?

In legal proceedings, the Bates Numbering system is used to manage and reference the large number of documents often involved in cases, such as court filings, evidence, and discovery materials. By assigning a unique identifier to each document, attorneys and legal professionals can quickly locate specific pages or documents when needed, making the process more efficient and reliable.

Can the Bates Numbering system be used with electronic documents?

Yes, the Bates Numbering system can be adapted for use with electronic documents. The unique identifiers can be assigned to individual pages within electronic files, allowing for easy organization and reference just as with physical documents. There are a variety of software tools and applications available that can help implement this type of electronic numbering system.

Are there any common conventions or rules for assigning Bates Numbers?

While there isn’t a strict set of rules for assigning Bates Numbers, there are some common conventions that can be followed. Typically, these numbers are assigned in sequential order starting from the first document or page in a set. In many implementations, a prefix or suffix is added to provide additional context or to differentiate between different cases, clients, or document types. This can help ensure clarity and consistency in referencing the numbered items.

Related Technology Terms

  • Document Identification
  • Legal Discovery
  • Sequential Labeling
  • Electronic Numbering
  • Bates Stamping Software

Sources for More Information


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