Is Your Record Protected For Admission in Court?


Did you know that in California only deposition transcripts certified by a California Certified Shorthand Reporter (CSR) are admissible in court?

In the State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin case, Judge Cahill ordered a transcript inadmissible that was submitted by the prosecution as an exhibit because the transcript was neither prepared nor certified by an official court reporter. The digitally recorded transcript was an unofficial transcript. 

Click here to learn more about the importance of following your local rules and making sure you have a qualified stenographic court reporter.


How do you ensure you and your client are getting a transcript that you can use in court?

  • Make sure your deposition notice states, “The deposition shall be taken by a California Certified Shorthand Reporter by stenographic means ” A notary is not necessary for a deposition. California CSRs can administer the oath both in person and via remote means by virtue of their license.
  • Ask to see the CSR’s license. A California CSR license will have the “Court Reporters Board of California” and the seals of the Department of Consumer Affairs and the State of California printed on its face. Many CSRs are now wearing a lanyard with their license.
  • When confirming your deposition with the court reporting firm, reiterate that you expect a CSR to be reporting your witness’s testimony. If the firm cannot guarantee you will be getting a licensed California CSR, get another firm to cover your deposition.  The admissibility of your record depends on it!
  • Schedule your deposition early and state you require a California Certified Shorthand Reporter.

Why is it important that you have a California CSR at your deposition?

  • By using a licensed California CSR, you have the confidence that your transcript is certified and admissible in court.
  • Only a California CSR is licensed in the state of California and is under the jurisdiction of the California Court Reporters Board. If there is an issue with your court reporter or your transcript, you can then file a complaint with the Court Reporters Board.
  • California CSRs have rigorous training and testing in grammar, medical/legal terminology, ethics, and courtroom/deposition procedures.
  • Qualified CSRs can provide instantaneous readback of testimony at proceedings and the instant display of verbatim testimony (realtime) if requested.

Beware of the bait-and-switch scheme where digital recorders call themselves “court reporters.”

  • A digital recorder is NOT licensed in the state of California and is NOT under the jurisdiction of the California Court Reporters Board. If you have any problems with the transcript, you will not be able to file a complaint with the California Court Reporters Board.
  • A digital recorder cannot perform a readback of your testimony.
  • A digital recorder has approximately two weeks of training.
  • A digital recorder is not held under the same requirements of the code of ethics and confidentiality as a California CSR.
  • A digitally recorded deposition must be accompanied by a stenographic transcript prepared by a California CSR for admission in court. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.340(m).)

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