by Kimberley Neeson
When conducting depositions in Canada, it pays to do a little research before booking a court reporting firm. What is considered the “norm” in your state or country may not be the “norm” in other jurisdictions. Here are a few quick points to bear in mind:
- In many provinces in Canada, stenography is not the method of court reporting. Many court reporting firms employ digital recording with monitors, and typists prepare the transcripts (and not necessarily the monitor who sat in your deposition!)
- Court reporters do not have to be licensed in Canada in order to certify transcripts.
- Court reporters who swear in the witness should have a Commissioner of Oaths from the province they are working in.
- Rates differ dramatically from province-to-province and even city-to-city (think New York City rates versus Small-Town-USA rates, for example).
- Qualified legal videographers are few and far between. Only a handful of videographers in Canada have actually obtained their CLVS certification.
- The technological abilities of court reporting firms varies widely in most provinces. Some reporters still use WordPerfect 4.2 from the late 1980s in order to produce transcripts!
How do you locate a qualified court reporter and videographer in Canada?
- Choose a reputable court reporting firm with affiliations to associations where they have been independently vetted, i.e. National Court Reporters Association, National Network of Reporting Companies, etc.
- Ask what method of reporting your court reporter will be providing; in other words, if you need a steno reporter, make sure to ask for one and indicate that digital recording is not acceptable.
- Ensure your court reporting firm can provide you with the tools you require to meet your needs; i.e. hyperlinked exhibits, synced video media, transcript formats that will work with legal software databases, etc.
- Ensure your court reporting firm can meet your transcript turnaround deadlines; i.e. ask for a rate sheet that includes turnaround times in advance of booking.
- Inquire whether conference rooms are available and complimentary; this is standard offering in most Canadian court reporting firms
- For videography, inquire in advance if you can get your media on a DVD; you don’t want to deal with the old school VHS system!
- Last but not least, because you are an out-of-country customer, ask if prepayment is necessary.
By creating a quick checklist of absolute musts for your court reporting and videography services, you’ll save yourself a nasty surprise in a location where “fixing” the problem will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
About Ms. Neeson:
With over 30 years of court reporting experience, Ms. Neeson has been at the forefront of the advanced technologies of reporting. She was one of the first reporters in Canada to actively use and promote realtime reporting in the litigation setting.
Ms. Neeson is a Registered Professional Reporter, a Certified Realtime Reporter, a Chartered Shorthand Reporter, a Certified CART Provider and a Certified Broadcast Captioner, and was recently awarded NCRA’s Certified Realtime Administrator designation in July 2011.