California Court Reporters – Minimum Transcript Format Standards


Court reporters in the State of California have minimum transcript rules that California Certified Shorthand Reporters must adhere to as regulated by the Court Reporters Board of California.  Over the years I have heard attorneys complain of paying for deposition transcripts that “didn’t have much on a page.”  Attorneys need to know that if a California court reporter or court reporting firm is producing transcripts that don’t meet the minimum format standard, a complaint may be lodged with the CR Board.

Division 24 of Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations sets forth the following:

  1. No fewer than 25 typed text lines per page.
  2. A full line of text shall be no less than 56 characters unless timestamping is used, in which case no fewer than 52 characters shall be used on a full line of text.
  3. The left-hand margin is defined as the first character of a line of text.
  4. Each question and answer is to appear on a separate line.
  5. Text is to begin no more than 10 spaces from the left margin including ‘Q’ and ‘A’ symbols.
  6. Carry-over ‘Q’ and ‘A’ lines are to begin at the left margin.
  7. Colloquy and paragraphed material are to begin no more than 10 spaces from left-hand margin with carry-over colloquy to the left-hand margin
  8. Quoted material is to begin no more than 14 spaces from the left-hand margin with carry-over lines to begin no more than 10 spaces from the left-hand margin.
  9. Parenthetical and exhibit markings of two lines or more shall be no less than 35 characters per line.
  10. In colloquy, text shall begin no more than two spaces after the colon following a speaker identification.

The goal of the Minimum Transcript Format Standards is to protect the consumer as well as give the court reporters of California guidance in producing a transcript.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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