Court Reporter Working an Arbitration – Direct Examination or Cross-Examination?


I have been writing 250+ pages a day for the past week in a binding arbitration with three arbitrators.  As a deposition reporter, I don’t do court work, and I don’t do a lot of arbitrations.

The attorneys are calling witnesses to examine, direct examination, cross-examination, redirect…  BUT then one of the attorneys asked to call a hostile witness on cross, even though he was the first to ask the witness questions.  So is this cross or direct examination?

I asked one of the arbitrators, a retired Federal Court Judge, if I should designate the testimony as direct or cross.  He raised his eyebrows and said, “There is no real answer,” and changed the subject.

Then I asked two court reporters who have been working in court for the past 19 years in San Diego Superior Court.  They looked at each other and said that the court reporters in San Diego actually had hired an attorney to get an opinion, and the opinion is not clear.  The official court reporters suggested if the attorneys actually use the phrase, “I am calling the witness on cross-examination,” or someone says, “Hostile witness,” they use the cross-examination designation.

I finally suggested to the arbitrator that I would make it generic, like in a deposition, and write, “EXAMINATION OF JOE SMITH.”  He agreed that would be the best way to handle it.

I am curious if there are others who know what is appropriate and what a court reporter should use in this circumstance.  We never learned about this in court reporting school.

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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