This summer brought about a significant piece of legislation for court reporters in the State of Maine.
The bill, which was signed into legislation by Maine Governor Paul LePage and entitled, An Act to Ensure Ethical Standards for Court Reporters, has received much support from groups like the Maine Trial Lawyers Association and was introduced as a grassroots campaign by the Main Court Reporters Association.
The new law prohibits many of ethical considerations related to third-party contracting. Specifically, it speaks to the need to ensure impartiality of court reporters and the need for these professional to maintain strict, ethical standards within the legal system.
Some of the law’s highlights include:
Court reporters may not:
- Enter into an oral or written agreement with an attorney, insurance company, or other third-party administrator that has a financial interest in a case where the court reporter provides services.
- Provide specific economic or other advantages to attorneys, representatives, agents or others without offering the same advantage to all parties
- Offer to provide court reporting services if the payment of services is based on the outcome of the legal proceeding
- Enter into an agreement that would restrict an attorney’s right to choose the court reporter of their choice
- Allow the certified transcript to be changed or manipulated in any matter that would increase the cost of the transcript
- Enter into a contract for court reporting services that would prohibit them from dealing directly with all parties in the proceeding
Further, court reporters, under the new law, must offer comparable treatment and provide comparable services to all parties, which include:
- Providing all parties with an itemized statement of all rates and services
- Providing all parties with information regarding prices, terms, and conditions of court reporting services
- Providing itemized invoices of all rates and charges to the administrative body, court or administrative tribunal where the legal proceeding is based