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Advance planning needed for court reporting in complex trials

By Staff

Lawyers must think ahead when it comes to court reporting services for large trials, says Neesons Court Reporting founder and president Kim Neeson.

Neeson tells that counsel acting in complicated hearings involving multiple parties will often want more than the basic digital recording on offer by default in court proceedings.

For example, she says many lawyers like to set up a “war room” for the preparation of experts and witnesses or to deliver live-feed transcriptions to offsite locations for interested parties unable to attend in court every day.

“We can set it up so that real-time transcriptions are going to people anywhere in the world where they have an internet connection. But none of those things are available under the current system in court, so you need to think about them in advance,” Neeson says. “They should be requested at a case conference before the matter heads to trial, before you get sidetracked or forget about it.”

In an ideal world, she says counsel will receive the assent of the judge assigned to hear the case for any special arrangements well in advance, approving Neesons as a suitable substitute for the court reporting services typically provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General.

Once that permission is in place, Neeson’s firm can also provide in-court internet connections and technology to assist with the display of electronic documents on overhead screens.

Since its founding in 1996, she says Neesons has remained at the forefront of transcription and court reporting services by leveraging technology to meet the demands of clients. However, Neeson says she needs the co-operation of counsel to make sure things run smoothly.

“Some courtrooms are ready to go for electronic trials, but others may need more setup,” Neeson says. “We also need access to the courtroom the day before the hearing starts to do a test run of the system, and avoid any panics on the first day of trial.

“These are all things you need to think about well in advance, rather than the night before trial,” adds Neeson, whose company has provided its services during a number of large trials and hearings, including the ongoing Long-Term Care Homes Public Inquiry.

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