Why and When You Should Use a Court Reporter

Monday, September 21, 2020, 6:00 PM | Leave Comment

We all hope the worst won’t happen, including that we won’t be involved in a legal dispute, but arguments frequently occur both in life and in business, and often the only way to resolve them is by going to court.

The top five most stressful life events are listed as the death of a loved one, divorce, moving home, major illness or injury and, lastly, job loss.

Unfortunately, each of these situations can involve legal input of some kind – often conducted in court – so it’s a good idea to plan ahead and consider everything you’re likely to need.

  • The role of the court reporter

    Many argue the role of court reporters is the most important in any courtroom. A court reporter’s job is to accurately transcribe everything that happens during a trial, including statements, presentations, declarations and verdicts.

    Without a court reporter’s records, it would be impossible to lodge appeals or proceed with further legal actions since there would be no evidence of exactly what had transpired and was agreed during the legal process.

    Court reporters work using a stenotype machine (a specialized type of short-hand typewriter) to document every word during court proceedings. They are also often called on to read back witness statements during a trial and sometimes even provide live commentary of proceedings for the deaf or hearing-impaired.

  • Times you should use a court reporter

    You should consider using a court reporter any time you find yourself in a legal dispute, to give you peace of mind that you have a full record of what was discussed and decided. In particular, for the events noted above, a court reporter can be useful for transcribing verbatim agreements – ones that are often forgotten further down the line.

    For example, in a divorce, proceedings are frequently discussed face to face between the opposing parties and often agreements are reached verbally, which might otherwise not be noted officially.

    Likewise, it’s not uncommon for family disputes to arise in the event of the death of a loved one, often leading to legal action. Again, you should consider hiring a court reporter to properly document any discussions and agreements made by opposing parties to ensure you have a full record of events. The same applies to injury cases and, in some instances, actions taken because of a job loss.

    In short, any time a legal dispute is likely to be resolved through speech, it’s useful to have a written, legally-binding record of events for further reference or possible enforcement.

  • Other situations where having a court reporter might be useful

    While the title “court reporter” implies legal work in a court, skilled reporters can also provide a useful function in other situations where transcribed evidence might be required further down the line.

    For example, having an official record of events can be useful in any type of hearing, corporate meeting, deposition, intellectual property dispute, medical malpractice case or personal liability disagreement.

Before entering into any formal discussions that are likely to be resolved orally, it is often wise to consider whether you will need to rely on transcribed evidence at a later date. If so, you should think about hiring a court reporter to create a full account of proceedings and cover your back in the event of unexpected complications further down the line.

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