Court Stenography Law

What is Court Stenography Law?

Court Stenography Law refers to both the licensing and professional regulation of court stenographers, as well as their obligations in certain legal and legislative proceedings. Court stenographers, also known as court reporters, stenographers, or transcriptionists, are the individuals responsible for taking down, word-for-word, the transcript of a legal proceeding or legislative session. These individuals are also responsible for transcribing these records that later become a part of the official records of the legal proceeding, and in many jurisdictions, for administering the oath during depositions that the person testifying will only provide truthful answers.

Training and Certification

The amount of training required to become a court reporter varies with the type of reporting chosen and the jurisdiction. Generally, a court reporter must be able to record 225 words per minute as a minimum for state certifications. Some States require court reporters to be notaries public, while others require the Certified Court Reporter (CCR) designation, for which a reporter must pass a State certification exam.

A Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) is the entry level designation for those who pass an exam and participate in continuing education courses. One may also achieve higher levels of certification, such as the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR) or Registered Diplomate Reporter (RDR). The RDR is the highest level of certification available to court reporters, and is obtained when a court reporter has either five consecutive years of experience as an RMR, or holds an RMR and has bachelor's degree.

There are also separate certifications for "voice writers" and "electronic court reporters."

Legal Obligations

Court reporters are obligated to report what is said and done in a legal proceeding or deposition as accurately as possible. In many jurisdictions, a court reporter who knowingly falsifies a transcript can not only be stripped of his or her certification, but also be charged with perjury or other crimes. Similarly, court reporters are obligated to produce transcripts in a reasonably timely manner, and cannot unreasonably delay in doing so in order to either advantage one party over another or on the basis of discrimination against a member of a protected class such as race, religion, gender, or age.

For more information about court reporting laws, please visit the resources identified below. You can also obtain advice from local attorneys in your area by visiting our Law Firms page.


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