What is a Court Reporter?

The role of a court reporter is more than the stenographic machine.

As a general matter, it is understood that court reporters are the operators of stenographic machines in court. In the context of Florida family law, however, other technologies such as digital recording are often utilized.

Whether the court reporter uses a stenographic machine, digital recording, shorthand or any other court reporting method, their general function remains the same. Namely, their job is to create and preserve a quality record of the words that are spoken in family law court. If necessary, their transcription can be provided to be used when appellate courts need to review a lower court’s decision and whether legal principles and procedures were properly followed.

Why Does Court Reporting Matter?

Accurate transcription becomes an important legal safeguard that ensures all parties are treated fairly. Without accurate transcription from a court reporter, it is difficult for an appellate court to accurately determine whether the case was handled fairly for all parties in the case.

In short, court reporting matters because it protects your legal right to due process of law.

Is a Court Reporter Automatically Provided in Family Law Cases?

Since court reporters play an important role as a procedural safeguard that protects your rights, it may come as a bit of a surprise to learn that court reporters are not automatically provided in a family law case.

Instead, it is generally the responsibility of both parties to provide a court reporter to transcribe the proceedings. For most Florida family law cases, you cannot rely on the family law court to transcribe what is said. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule.

Proceedings that are brought before a general magistrate are recorded, and you may get those recordings transcribed. This is not to say, however, that the audio equipment will do a great job or that every word will be picked up by the recording.

It is typically in your best interests to bring a court reporter to every hearing in your family law case, given the important role they play in protecting your due process of law. When a court reporter is not present, understand that you may have no legal remedy on appeal. The best way to avoid this outcome is by having a court reporter with you each step of the way.

If you have questions regarding court reporters, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]