Court reporter shaking hands with an attorney.

Ethics, Integrity, And Court Reporters

Court reporter shaking hands with an attorney.

Ethics, Integrity, And Court Reporters

Every role in the legal system is governed by its own code of ethics that its members must adhere to. Court reporters are held to a set of standards that are just as crucial as those for judges and lawyers. Court reporters may actually have the highest ethical standards of any member of the trial process with the responsibility of faithfully transcribing all witness depositions and interviews related to the case. Without the accurate reporting of testimony, lawyers on either side may not be able to accurately present the facts of the case to a judge and jury. As impartial court staff, certified court reporters produce unbiased transcripts of proceedings. When attorneys seek qualified court reporters to assist in the discovery process, it is important to remember the connections of ethics, integrity, and court reporters. Kusar Court Reporters are experienced court reporters who impeccably transcribe and prepare documents, focusing on the tiniest details. Consider calling today at (800) 282-3376 to learn more about our comprehensive court reporting services.

The Importance of the Court Reporter’s Role

The role of a court reporter may seem straightforward at first—transcribing testimony during hearings, depositions, witness interviews, or at trial. However, court reporters are responsible for capturing and managing the record of court cases. When lawyers, the jury, or the judge needs to review what was stated in testimony, they reference the record that the court reporter produces.

In reality, the court reporting profession is more complex than just recording what people say. Court reporters have the important responsibility to accurately transcribe every utterance in a trial and the duty to produce accurate records. There are specific ethical standards that court reporters must follow for completing their duties. To ensure you receive excellent court reporting services, contact the experienced court reporters at Kusar Court Reporters today.

Court Reporting Standards Set by the National Court Reporters Association

Many court reporters are certified by their practice states or nationally certified. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) established a code of ethics for all certified court reporters in the United States, and many states pattern their codes of ethics after these guidelines.

Some of the basic ethical standards required by the NCRA include the following.

Capturing and Maintaining an Unbiased Record

Court reporters must faithfully record every word spoken during testimony. Many reporters hear shocking or tragic accounts of crimes by witnesses but are expected to capture everything that is said verbatim. Biased testimony may affect the outcome of a case. Because lawyers, juries, and judges refer to trial testimony and pre-trial interviews, having the right information recorded is vital.

Keeping Their Impartiality

The manner in which a court reporter records legal proceedings may inadvertently affect the entire resolution of a case. Emotions can run high during depositions or trials, but it is critical for the court reporter to work in a fair, unbiased manner toward everyone involved. Each party in the case, from lawyers to witnesses and others, should receive the same unbiased treatment.

Guarantee of Confidentiality

Like lawyers and the jury, court reporters are privy to sensitive information about a case. Court reporters are required to keep all matters private and not speak of them unless it pertains directly to their job. Confidentiality is expected both “on the record” and “off the record” and includes statements or conversations that happen during a deposition, interview, or trial even if they are not documented as part of the official case records. Discussing a case with outside the parties can bring serious repercussions to the court reporter, including censure from the NCRA or forfeiting certification.

Avoiding a Conflict of Interest

Should a court reporter have a conflict of interest in a case, such as a relationship with one of the parties, he or she is expected to disclose that conflict prior to performing any work. The reporter may be asked to step away from the case or enter the affiliation with the party into the record.

The reporter may have another conflict of interest peripherally related to the case itself. For example, a court reporter may be hired to record plaintiff statements for a class-action lawsuit but realize that he or she may have a relative who qualifies for the suit. The court reporter may be related to someone who works at the same company as the defendant. The responsibility is on the court reporter to correct any conflict of interest.

Refuse Incentives and Gifts

Court reporters are to maintain the utmost appearance of fairness and impartiality. The NCRA limits the gifts a reporter may give to $150 total per year, per attorney or firm. This is not considered a value high enough to be an incentive but, perhaps, something like a fruit basket for the holidays. However, state court reporting associations or the state bar association may have different regulations for court reporter gifts.

Maintain Professional Ethics

If a court reporter is even suspected of improper actions or of breaking confidentiality, otherwise violating the ethical standards set forth by the NCRA or state association, the suspicion can cast doubt on the entire case record.

Safeguarding All Transcripts

Court reporters are not to sell, give, or otherwise expose the transcripts from a case to anyone other than the participating parties unless all parties consent. However, once any records are made public, a court reporter is allowed to sell the transcript to the public without the consent of the attorneys, litigants, or other parties involved. Court reporters are also required to take steps to ensure document security of all transcripts, including electronic transcripts and those stored in the cloud.

When multiple parties involved in a case order records or transcripts, the court reporter must submit the information to all enquiring parties at the same time in order to avoid giving one side an advantage in the case by having information the other side does not have.

Ethical, Reliable California Court Reporters

When you need ethics, integrity, and court reporters, the team at Kusar Court Reporters can provide accurate, reliable transcription services performed in accordance with the NCRA and California standards. We offer several services to record testimony, including video recording and online documents. Consider calling (800) 282-3376 today for more information or to schedule your services. 

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