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.


Court Stenography Law - US

  • Court Reporter Statute, 28 U.S.C. § 753

    Federal court reporters record proceedings and produce transcripts. The statute sets forth the proceedings to be recorded including: (1) all proceedings in criminal cases had in open court; (2) all proceedings in other cases had in open court unless the parties with the approval of the judge shall agree specifically to the contrary; and (3) such other proceedings as a judge of the court may direct or as may be required by rule or order of court as may be requested by any party to the proceeding.

  • Court Stenographer - Definition

    A court stenographer is an officer of the court and is generally considered to be a state or public official. Appointment of a court stenographer is largely governed by statute. A stenographer is ordinarily appointed by the court as an official act, which is a matter of public record. She is an official under the control of the court and is, therefore, generally subject to its direction. She is not under the dominion and control of the attorneys in a case. The term of office of a court stenographer is also regulated by statute in most cases.

  • Federal Court Reporter Program

    One of the primary responsibilities of the court reporter is to provide a written tranof court proceedings upon the request of a party or order of court. Written transcripts are prepared within the Judicial Conference’s guidelines on page format, page rates, and delivery schedules. The transcripts of proceedings recorded by electronic sound recording equipment are produced by private transcription services designated by the court to transcribe federal court proceedings.

Organizations Related to Court Stenography Law

  • American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers

    The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers, Inc., is a nonprofit mutual benefit corporation organized to provide education and certification for professionals engaged in electronic reporting, transcribing, and supportive employment roles, and to promote public awareness and acceptance of the electronic reporting industry.

  • National Court Reporters Association

    NCRA promotes excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text and is committed to supporting every member in achieving the highest level of professional expertise.

  • National Verbatim Reporters Association

    NVRA advances the understanding, practice, education and professional standards of verbatim reporters and related reporting professionals by promoting ethical behavior, professional development, educational opportunities and support of individual reporters.

  • United States Court Reporters Association

    The United States Court Reporters Association is the national representative for the federal court reporting profession. The Association is committed to promoting and maintaining the highest standards of verbatim reporting, quality services, professional ethics, fidelity to the ideals of the judicial system, and advocating continuing education as well as the utilization of state-of-the-art technologies.

Publications Related to Court Stenography Law

  • Court Reporter Certification and Certificate Program Information

    Students enrolled in a court reporter certificate program learn to use transcription equipment, take shorthand, use court reporting terminology and write professionally. Graduates of a court reporting certificate program may find transcription work in law firms, government agencies or broadcasting corporations. Court reporters looking to obtain industry certifications can earn credentials through the National Court Reporters Association and similar entities.

  • Court Reporter Training and Certification

    In the United State the training required to become a court reporter varies by specialization and licensure requirements are unique to each State. The requirements for and the amount of training required to become a court reporter varies with the type of court reporting chosen. In about a year a person can become a novice voice writer, and it takes at least two years to become proficient at realtime voice writing. In most cases electronic reporters and transcribers learn their skills on the job. On average it takes about 33 months to become a realtime stenotypist.

  • Criminal Justice Careers - Court Reporting

    Court reporters are essential to the legal process as recorders of every official word spoken in court and other legal proceedings or meetings. Theirs is the official record of the trial and will be referred to if the verdict is appealed. Attorneys will often base the entire appeal on words spoken in the trial.

  • Decoding Legal Citations

    A legal citation is simply a way to help you find the case, statute or article being referenced. Typically, the citation includes: 1. a volume number 2. the name of the case reporter, code, or journal 3. a page or section number.

  • DOL - Nature of Work - Court Reporter

    Court reporters usually create verbatim transcripts of speeches, conversations, legal proceedings, meetings, and other events. Written accounts of spoken words are sometimes necessary for correspondence, records, or legal proof, and court reporters provide those accounts. Court reporters play a critical role not only in judicial proceedings, but also at every meeting where the spoken word must be preserved as a written transcript.

  • NCRA Certifications - Levels of Court Reporter Certifications

    NCRA certifications have set the standard for excellence since 1935. That year, our first certification program was established to individually recognize the competence of court reporters. In the first year 27 reporters passed the first exam, establishing themselves as "Certified Professionals," or CPs. Since then, our certification programs have become perhaps your most valuable membership benefit. The certification program now has three tiers of achievement and proudly claims nearly 11,000 Registered Professional Reporters (RPRs), the updated equivalent of the CP. Over 2,100 reporters have earned the next level of certification, the Registered Merit Reporter (RMR), and over 450 have become Registered Diplomate Reporters (RDRs). In addition, there are over 2,350 Certified Realtime Reporters (CRR), 289 Certified Broadcast Captioners (CBC) and 228 Certified Cart Providers (CCP).

  • The Bluebook - A Uniform System of Citation

    Welcome to The Bluebook, the definitive style guide for legal citation in the United States. For generations, law students, lawyers, scholars, judges, and other legal professionals have relied on The Bluebook’s unique system of citation. In a diverse and rapidly changing legal profession, The Bluebook continues to provide a systematic method by which members of the profession communicate important information about the sources and authorities upon which they rely in their work.

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