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Court and Tribunal Transcripts
All proceedings in NSW Courts, being courts of record, are recorded.
The Reporting Services Branch of the Department of Justice is the primary provider of recording and transcription services to the Courts and Tribunals of New South Wales. The Branch records all formal court proceedings, both criminal and civil, in major jurisdictions.
Contacting Reporting Services Branch
Reporting Services Branch
Department of Justice
Where do I order a transcript?
Transcript should be ordered at the court in which the case was heard. Below is a list of places where you can order transcripts for matters heard in various courts and tribunals.
Local Court and District Court (country)
For all Local Court and District Court (country) proceedings order transcripts at the Local Court Registry where the matter was heard.
District Court (Sydney CBD)
For District Court proceedings heard in the Sydney CBD order transcripts from:
Industrial Relations Commission
For matters heard in the Industrial Relations Commission order transcripts directly from the registry, see Industrial Relations Commission website: Transcripts.
Land & Environment Court
For matters heard at the Land & Environment Court, order transcripts at the registry.
Transcript Order Forms
Costs of Transcripts
Transcription fees are prescribed under the Criminal Procedure Regulations 2005 and the Civil Procedure Regulation 2005.
For cost in relation to transcripts from the Local Court and other Tribunals and Courts, an application has to be made to the court where the matter was heard.
Transcription fees may be paid by cash or cheque, EFTPOS or credit card (Visa card, Mastercard and Bankcard accepted).
What if I need a transcript, but can’t afford it?
Everyone is required to pay for transcripts unless they can show that they need it and can’t afford it. If you need a transcript, but can’t afford to pay for it, you need to apply to the Court Registrar where the case was heard. The Court Registrar has the power to decide whether you can have the transcript free of charge, for a lower fee, or delay payment until you can afford to pay.
Who owns transcripts?
All transcripts are owned by the State of New South Wales. This means the copyright too is owned by the State.
Transcripts cannot be photocopied or used in any other way without getting permission from the Reporting Services Branch or the Crown.
Waiver of Fees
All legally aided litigants and all appellants in the Court of Criminal Appeal automatically receive a waiver of transcript fees.
How Transcripts are Prepared
What is a court transcript?
A transcript is a written record, prepared in accordance with legislation, of what is said during a court case.
If you wish to get a copy of what was said in a NSW court case in which you were involved in, you may order the court transcript.
Why is it important to record what was said in a court case?
An official court transcript is important because the decision of a judge may be appealed. In such an ‘appeal’, a more senior judge may be asked to look at the original decision and say if it was correct in law. To do this, the senior judge must have a record of the proceedings.
How is a transcript made?
All transcripts are created in an electronic format and are stored in relevant databases.
What is a daily transcript?
Daily transcripts are produced on the particular day of hearing if a Judge so requests.
Transcripts from audio recording:
In many courts an audio recording is created of what is said in the proceedings. Reporting Services Branch retains the recording for up to five years after the court case. If a person needs a typed copy of a court case, the Reporting Services Branch uses the audio recording to prepare the transcript.
Who is entitled to obtain a transcript of a court case?
Subject to payment of transcription fees, the parties to the proceedings or their legal representatives are entitled to obtain a copy of a transcript. The Court or Registrar may also permit non-parties to obtain a copy of a transcript if they provide sufficient reasons in writing.
Storage of Transcripts
NSW Courts are courts of record. Court records of proceedings, i.e. audio tapes, shorthand notes and stenotype pads, are retained within the Branch from three to five years after the completion of the matter, depending upon the courts jurisdiction.
Transcripts of proceedings are not prepared in all matters.
Transcripts prepared by the Branch are stored for the same period as audio tapes, shorthand notes and stenotype pads.
After the retention period has expired, the original transcripts are then sent to State Archives for safekeeping. Transcripts are never destroyed, with the exception of the Industrial Relations Commission transcripts, which are destroyed after 12 months. Transcripts are also stored on the Branch’s central transcripts database.
History of Court Reporting in NSW
A Court Reporting service was set up in 1911 as a branch of the then Department of Attorney General and Justice. It comprised a number of expert shorthand writers and was intended to replace a system in which the presiding Judge recorded evidence in longhand. Prior to 1911 people involved in a court case would hire their own freelance court reporters With the growth of the State, and consequently the court system, a need arose to set up a reliable court reporting structure and thus the practice expanded. The present Reporting Services Branch came into being in mid-1988.
From Judges noting evidence to the emergence of expert Court and Sound Reporters, today court proceedings are covered by CAT Reporters (Computer Assisted Transcripts), Pen Reporters, Sound Reporters, Realtime Reporting and Dual Remote Sound Recording.