A Reporter's Transcript

A reporter's transcript is a word-for-word typed record of everything that was said in court during the trial or hearing.

A reporter's transcript is only available if a court reporter was present during the trial court proceedings and made a record of what was said in those proceedings. Not all trial court hearings or trials have a court reporter, so you may not be able get a reporter's transcript and may need to use one of the other acceptable ways to provide the record of oral proceedings.

In most civil cases, a court reporter will only have been there if you or one of the other parties arranged to have the court reporter there. You should ask the superior court clerk if there was a court reporter in your case before you choose this option.

If a reporter's transcript is available, consider asking for (designating) a reporter's transcript of what was said at the trial or hearing that relates to the issues you want to raise on appeal. For limited civil cases (civil cases involving an amount that is $25,000 or less), the appellant can use the Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Limited Civil Case) (Form APP-103) to designate the proceedings he or she wants to be included in the reporter's transcript. For unlimited civil cases (such as civil cases involving an amount over $25,000 or family law cases), the appellant can use the Appellant's Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Unlimited Civil Case) (Form APP-003).

If the appellant chooses to use a reporter's transcript as the record of what was said in the trial court, within 10 days after the appellant has filed his or her notice designating the record, the respondent may serve and file a notice in superior court designating any additional proceedings the respondent wants included in the reporter's transcript. In limited civil cases (civil cases involving an amount that is $25,000 or less), the respondent can use the Respondent's Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Limited Civil Case) (Form APP-110). In unlimited civil cases (such as civil cases involving an amount over $25,000 or family law cases), the respondent can use the Respondent's Notice Designating Record on Appeal (Unlimited Civil Case) (Form APP-010).

The court reporter will prepare the transcript based on what the appellant and respondent list in their notices designating the record on appeal.

In most civil appeals, there is a fee for preparing and getting a copy of a reporter's transcript. The appellant must pay for the costs of preparing the original reporter's transcript and sending it to the appellate court as well as for his or her copy of the reporter's transcript. If the respondent wants a copy of the reporter's transcript, he or she must pay for this copy.

In a limited civil case, the court or the reporter gives the appellant who designated the reporter’s transcript and any respondent who requested a copy of the transcript an estimate of the cost of the transcript. The parties must deposit this amount or one of the substitutes that is allowed with the superior court within 10 days after the estimate is sent (see rule 8.834 for the substitutes for depositing the estimated cost). In an unlimited civil case, this deposit must be made when the respondent files the designation, and the respondent can either get an estimate from the reporter or estimate the cost as provided in rule 8.130 of the California Rules of Court. If a party chooses to deposit the estimated cost of the transcript with the court, the party must also pay the court a fee of $50. If you are low income and cannot afford to pay this fee, you can ask to waive this fee (Click to find out about fee waivers).  However, because the fees for reporter's transcripts are not court costs or fees, the court cannot waive them. Some financial assistance for paying for reporter's transcripts is available through the Transcript Reimbursement Fund. (See information about the Transcript Reimbursement Fund and Business and Professions Code sections 8030.2-8030.8 for more.) If you cannot pay for a reporter's transcript, you can prepare a record of the oral proceedings in other ways. Click to find out about these other ways to prepare a record of oral proceedings.

In an unlimited civil case, if the respondent does not wish to pay for his or her own copy of the reporter's transcript, he or she may borrow the appellant's copy after notifying the appellant no more than 20 days after the record is filed in the Court of Appeal. The record is lent to the respondent when the appellant's opening brief is served and is returned to the appellant when the respondent's brief is served.

Read rule 8.834 of the California Rules of Court and the Information on Appeal Procedures for Limited Civil Cases (Form APP-101-INFO) for details on using a reporter's transcript for an appeal in the superior court's appellate division.

Read rule 8.130 of the California Rules of Court for details on using a reporter's transcript for a proceeding in the Court of Appeal (for unlimited civil cases).

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