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Court Reporting Ethics and Professionalism

During legal proceedings, court reporters are key players responsible for accuracy and fairness. This blog explores the ethics and professionalism that guide their work, focusing on key principles they must uphold to protect the integrity of their work.

Remaining Impartial

Court reporters must remain impartial during court proceedings. Allowing personal biases or opinions affect the transcription or giving partial treatment to a certain party can affect the outcome of the proceedings. The NCRA’s code of Professional Ethics states: “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.” [5] Providing equal and objective service to both parties can protect the reporter from complaints of dishonest conduct.

Maintaining Confidentiality

The NCRA code states: “Preserve the confidentiality and ensure the security of information, oral or written, entrusted to the Member by any of the parties in a proceeding.” [5] Court reporters are entrusted with the task of preserving confidentiality of information obtained during legal proceedings. The legal field places a high value on confidentiality, requiring court reporters to refrain from disclosing courtroom or deposition room events to anyone. Given the sensitive nature of the information encountered, maintaining confidentiality is paramount for court reporters.

Safeguarding the Transcript

As a continuation of the NCRA code mentioned above, court reporters are also meant to protect court transcripts as it is crucial for maintaining the trust and integrity of the justice system. It is vital for people to feel confident that their testimonies will be kept confidential, allowing them to speak openly and honestly.

When it comes to making transcripts public, court reporters can sell them to the public, with or without the litigants’ consent, if the record is public. If not, external parties must follow proper legal procedures, like obtaining a subpoena or court order. To ensure fairness, when multiple parties request a transcript, court reporters must distribute the information to all parties at the same time. This prevents any party from gaining an unfair advantage and upholds the principle of impartiality in the legal process.

Respecting Off-the-Record Statements

Court reporters cannot include off-the-record statements in the official transcript. If something is said after the deposition has concluded, it cannot be added to the transcript, even if an attorney asks for it to be included. In order to consider off-the-record statements in court, an attorney must subpoena the court reporter to testify about what they heard. [6]

Avoiding Conflict of Interest

Part of remaining impartial includes avoiding situations where there could be a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is when a person has a vested interest in the outcome of an event, whether it be financial or otherwise. These interests could influence a court reporter’s judgement and the work they do. The NCRA states “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.” [5]

Refusing Incentives

Staying alert to potential conflicts of interest can also mean avoiding socializing with lawyers or litigants in a case, or even refusing to accept gifts from any party involved. If a court reporter has a personal relationship with someone involved in a case, there could be potential for any socialization outside of proceedings to be misconstrued as receiving incentives or influencing the events of the case. In this instance, disclosing any conflicting relationships to the lawyer or judge presiding over the case is best.


In the courtroom, court reporters follow a strict ethical code. Their commitment to impartiality, confidentiality, and transparency ensures the reliability of court transcripts. It’s clear that these principles are not just rules but are the foundation of a credible legal process.


[1] Esquire Deposition Solutions. “Court Reporting Ethics 101 | Esquire Deposition Solutions.” Esquire Deposition Solutions, 19 Aug. 2019,

[2] Combs Reporting, Inc. “Professional Ethics For Court Reporters.” Combs Reporting, Inc. 17, May 2021,

[3] MOS Legal. “Court Reporting – Ethical Considerations and Responsibilities.” MOS Transcription Company, 19 Nov. 2019,

[4] Aptus Court Reporting. “Code of Ethics & Professional Integrity for Court Reporters: All You Need to Know.” Aptus Court Reporting. 8 Aug. 2022,

[5] “NCRA Code of Professional Ethics.”, 2023,

[6] “Court Reporting Ethics 101.” JD Supra, 2019,