Important Ethical Considerations for Court Reporters

September 22, 2020 10:23 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Court reporters are a vital part of legal proceedings, which means they have to adhere to high standards of ethics to ensure court reporting integrity in Phoenix, AZ. As impartial court staff, they must produce an accurate and unbiased written transcript of the proceedings.

The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has come up with a code of ethics for all American court reporters. These rules help ensure fair and impartial records are created and preserved. At Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC, we require our court reporting staff to adhere to these ethical guidelines. Read on to learn more about ethics and integrity in court reporting in Phoenix, AZ.

NCRA ethical guidelines for court reporters

The following are some highlights and considerations from the NCRA’s code of ethics. When you’re hiring a court reporting firm, make sure to ask how they handle these major issues and guidelines:

  • Fairness and impartiality: The number one ethical requirement for court reporters is to remain impartial, fair and unbiased when transcribing a proceeding. The court reporter must never give preferential treatment to anyone in the litigation process, including the firm who hired them. This ensures that the parties are given a fair trial and will be judged on the merits of the case, not a court reporter’s personal feelings.
  • Guaranteeing confidentiality: Like attorneys, court reporters must maintain complete confidentiality for events and comments both on and off the record. Discussing a case with others can jeopardize a proceeding and result in serious consequences for both the parties and the court reporter themselves.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest: Occasionally, a court reporter may find that they have a direct or indirect conflict of interest with the parties or the proceeding itself—this could be financial, or might affect the individual a different way. When this occurs, it is incumbent upon the court reporter to “cure” the conflict of interest. This starts with disclosing the potential conflict and may require the court reporter to step away from the case.
  • Refusing incentives and gift giving: Just as court reporters need to be aware of conflicts of interest and decline cases where impartiality is impossible, they’re also not allowed to offer gifts or other incentives to attorneys and firms. As you can imagine, offering gifts might shift a firm’s perspective and give them an unfair incentive to hire a court reporting firm—which defeats the purpose of hiring fair and impartial court reporters. The NCRA’s guidelines limit gifts to attorneys and firms to $150 total per year, per attorney. This is generally not considered an amount high enough to be considered an incentive. Local and state rules may vary.
  • Maintaining ethical standards: Finally, a court reporter must maintain the highest ethical standards, both in appearance and in fact. The idea here is that if a court reporter is even suspected of impropriety, it casts a pall on the entire proceeding.

For ethical court reporting in Phoenix, AZ, look no further than Bartelt | Nix Reporting, LLC. We’re proud to hold our reporters to the highest standards—call today to get started!

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