What is court reporting?
Court reporting is the process which creates and preserves a record of words spoken in court, and when necessary, provides their timely and accurate transcription in the event that an appeal is filed.
What are the court reporting methods?
Court reporters are commonly understood to be operators of stenographic court machines. Modern court reporting however can rely on other technologies such as digital recording, which may be operated from an external location. In Florida’s trial courts, a variety of methods are used to provide court reporting services. These methods include, but are not limited to, shorthand, stenography, computer-aided transcription, real-time court reporting, audio tape recording, and digital audio recording. Depending on local demographics, circuits may employ one or more of these methods in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. Read more about these methods here.
The function of court reporting is frequently discussed in two major components. The contemporaneous recording of words and events in a courtroom, whether by stenographic or by other means, is referred to as recording. The subsequent conversion of the record into written text is referred to as transcription. The overall process is referred to as court reporting.
Why do we have court reporting?
Court reporting is a procedural safeguard that helps to ensure equal opportunity to appeal final decisions of lower courts. In considering an appeal, an appellate court relies upon transcripts to determine whether lower courts used proper procedures and the appropriate legal principles in reaching a final decision. If a transcript is unavailable, the appellate courts would have difficulty in determining whether a case was handled in a fair manner.
In America’s court system, procedural safeguards such as court reporting are set in place to ensure individual rights to due process of law. Due process is based on the principle that governments shall not deprive any person of life, liberty or property without the guarantee of fundamental fairness and justice. In Florida, our court system depends on due process services to fulfill its mission to protect rights and liberties, uphold and interpret the law, and provide for the peaceful resolution of disputes.
Court Reporting Circuit Profiles
The Commission on Trial Court Performance & Accountability and Office of the State Courts Administrator have been working together to provide resource tools that can be used to evaluate and monitor court reporting operations.
One resource tool that has been developed is the Court Reporting Circuit Profile. A circuit profile is an annual summary of a circuit’s court reporting fiscal allotments, staffing models, service delivery models, digital logistics, measurable workload outputs, and contract service provider rates.
NOTE: Due to the large amount of data contained in each Circuit Profiles publication, tables and graphics were used to concisely represent the data. If you use assistive technology and are having trouble accessing the information contained in these publications, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the preferred format in which to receive the information, along with your contact information.
Court Reporting Performance and Accountability
Beginning in 2002, the Commission on Trial Court Performance & Accountability has been working to make recommendations on new policies and procedures on matters related to the effective and efficient functioning of court reporting services.
On July 16, 2009, the Supreme Court released SC08-1658, regarding the proposed rule amendment recommendations of the Commission concerning court reporting services and the use of electronic recordings of court proceedings. Subsequent to the release of the Supreme Court’s opinion, the Commission issued a supplemental report recommending modifications to some of the standards of operation and best practices originally submitted in October 2007. On January 7, 2010, the Supreme Court issued AOSC10-1 which adopted the standards of operation and best practices proposed by the Commission in both the October 2007 report and as revised in the November 2009 report.
A listing of the Comission's reports issued to date is provided below:
- Supplemental Report – Recommendations for the Provision of Court Reporting Services in Florida’s Trial Courts November, 2009
- Recommendations for the Provision of Court Reporting Services in Florida's Trial Courts October, 2007
- Court Reporting in Florida's Trial Courts Post-Revision 7, February 2005
- Final Report and Recommendations, December 2002
A summary of the court reporting standards of operation and best practices that have been approved by the Supreme Court may be found here: Compendium of Standards of Operation and Best Practices.
Court Reporting Related Links
- National Center for State Courts
- National Court Reporters Association
- American Association of Electronic Court Reporters and Transcribers
- Florida Court Reporters Association
National Verbatim Reporters Association