Court Reporters & the Integrity of the Judicial System
Whether it’s a deposition, hearing, or trial, court reporters are relied on to produce accurate and unbiased official records. This impartiality and attention to detail is key to upholding the integrity of the legal system. Someone’s life and or livelihood may be at stake if the record is not impartial or not accurate.
In order to maintain this professionalism and integrity, court reporters must follow a code of ethics. The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) has established a specific Code of Ethics. Here are a few highlights:
- “Be fair and impartial toward each participant in all aspects of reported proceedings, and always offer to provide comparable services to all parties in a proceeding.”
What this means is that the court reporter must provide the same services to all parties involved in the proceeding. In other words, they cannot focus their services on only the firm or party that hired them. For example, offering a free rough draft to one side of a case and not offering that same service to the other is a gross violation of this rule.
- “Be alert to situations that are conflicts of interest or that may give the appearance of a conflict of interest. If a conflict or a potential conflict arises, the Member shall disclose that conflict or potential conflict.”
A conflict of interest happens when an individual has financial or direct interest in the result of a case. A conflict of interest can also occur when an individual has a close relationship with another party that is involved. These conflicts of interest can adversely affect the judgment of a court reporter. Therefore, these conflicts must be identified and avoided if the integrity of the judicial system is to be maintained.
- “Refrain from giving, directly or indirectly, any gift or anything of value to attorneys or their staff, other clients or their staff, or any other persons or entities associated with any litigation, which exceeds $150 in the aggregate per recipient each year. Nothing offered in exchange for future work is permissible, regardless of its value. Pro bono services as defined by the NCRA Guidelines for Professional Practice or by applicable state and local laws, rules and regulations are permissible in any amount.”
When incentive gifts are given to clients in exchange for a firm’s court reporting services, this can produce a negative perception of favoritism and impropriety. Furthermore, court reporters should be hired for their skills and qualifications, not based off incentive gifts. If an unqualified or impartial court reporter is hired, this could jeopardize the case.
Looking for a Denver court reporter?
Stevens-Koenig Reporting offers an extensive array of court reporting services in Denver, Colorado as well as around the country. Our certified deposition court reporters are trained in realtime, video and verbatim court reporting and can manage any size case in any size firm. Contact us at 303-988-8470.