Code of Professional Conduct for Official Reporters
The California Court Reporters Association Bylaws states its purpose as follows:
Article II: The purpose of the association shall be: a) To sponsor, promote, and execute policies, activities and legislative initiatives which further the profession of court reporting; b) To promote verbatim court reporting technologies over alternative reporting methods; c) To engage in activities which will assist in establishing and maintaining high standards of proficiency and conditions of employment under which court reporters practice; d) To promote a broader understanding and acceptance of the verbatim court reporter as an indispensable part of the judicial system; e) To promote lawful and professional conduct by court reporters and compliance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, including antitrust laws.
The importance of the role of the Certified Shorthand Reporter in the judicial system places ethical obligations on those who serve in this capacity. This Code of Professional Conduct has been adopted to reflect current standards in the verbatim court reporting profession and to set forth directives on professional behavior. Acceptance of these directives by members is voluntary.
This Code of Professional Conduct attempts to meet the expressed needs of those who provide verbatim court reporting services for guidance in their responsibilities of integrity and impartiality. To maintain the highest level of professional practice within the verbatim court reporting industry, this code attempts to sensitize all members to the ethical issues that may arise in their profession and to encourage those who provide verbatim court reporting services to practice in accordance with the highest ethical standards of the profession.
The practice of verbatim court reporting is governed by state and federal law. This Code of Professional Conduct is intended to apply only to the extent it does not conflict with applicable state or federal law or authoritative judicial rules or decisions.
This code cannot cover every conceivable ethical situation in which those who provide 'verbatim court reporting services may find themselves, but it is intended to provide consistent and reliable guidelines for most such situations. The Board of Directors may evaluate these situations as they arise and, if appropriate, revise this code.
Although this Code of Professional Conduct refers exclusively to verbatim court reporters, the principles contained herein apply to all members of CCRA whether or not they are practicing verbatim court reporters.
A Member Should:
- Have knowledge of and abide by all governmental regulations which govern the practice of verbatim court reporting by the use of shorthand.
- Be totally impartial and disinterested in all aspects of reporting and transcribing proceedings, treating all participants in like manner.
- Guard against actual impropriety and/or any appearance of impropriety.
- Fully disclose to the presiding officer and/or all parties present at a proceeding for which verbatim court reporting services are to be provided any conflict of interest or the possibility of a conflict of interest. Following that disclosure, decline to report the proceeding upon the request of the presiding officer of any party.
- To avoid the appearance of impropriety, fully disclose to the presiding officer and/or all parties present, the nature and extent of any agreement or contracting relationship, exclusive or otherwise, with any financially interested party to the proceeding other than arrangements for attendance to report the proceeding. A financially interested party includes any party to the proceeding, a real party in interest, an insurance company, an attorney, or any agent thereof. Following that disclosure, decline to report the proceeding upon the request of the presiding officer or any financially interested party.
- Preserve the confidentiality of all information obtained and ensure the security and privacy of that information.
- Accept knowingly only those assignments where knowledge, skill, and experience are adequate to ensure high quality of verbatim court reporting services, including the production of a true and accurate verbatim transcript. If during any proceeding a verbatim court reporter determines his/her competence to be inadequate, inform the presiding officer and/or all parties present.
- Meet required and promised delivery dates or provide immediate notification of delays.
- As an official verbatim court reporter, refrain from freelance reporting activities that interfere with official duties and obligations.
- As a freelance verbatim court reporter, refrain from official court reporting activities that interfere with freelance duties and obligations.
- Charge fees for services as established by statute. In the absence of statute, provide comparable services under the same fee structure.
- Refrain from soliciting, maintaining or rewarding clients through the giving of gifts, so as to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Refrain from giving any consideration with a value in excess of $50 per person, per year, to any financially interested party to a lawsuit or any agent thereof.
- Refrain from untrue, deceptive or misleading advertising.
- Strive to expand professional and technological knowledge and improve reporting and technological skills by participating in continuing education programs.
- Refrain from acting in the capacity as a videographer without the simultaneous use of a verbatim shorthand reporter.
- Cooperate with Bench and Bar for improvement of the administration of justice.
- Uphold personal and professional integrity to enhance the public perception of the verbatim shorthand reporting profession.
Revised August 23, 1998