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Transcripts - Availability?

CDs and transcript availability for appeal and proceedings purposes.

It appears that the cost to the Family Court for CDs of proceedings is $18. That might be per CD or per day. Proceedings normally run four hours per hearing day. They are not available to those appearing before the court at those prices. Why not, one asks? This arose in a Full Court hearing involving Chief Justice Bryant today.

The applicant had submitted that he could not afford the $1,200 per day for transcripts. Nor could he afford to pay to listen to the digital recordings at some place at some charge?

Apparently there is provision for one to listen to the digital recordings of the hearings at a charge. This charge (possibly hourly) was also beyond the means of the applicant. The grounds on which the applicant was appealing went to bias and inferences which were drawn from verbal testimony. Also the matter had been some years before the court. These collective grounds and an appreciation†by the judges gave momentum to the court providing the applicant with access to the resources essential to be able prepare an appeal.

To account for the need to be able to keep track of what has been stated in the court during one's hearing, I enquired if it were possible to get a transcript each day for the proceedings of that day. The response I received was that it was. BUT that it would at a premium price. The longer the delivery time the lesser the cost,with $1,200 (app.)representing the minimum daily rate. From memory it was $1,800 or $1,900 same day delivery. Should the court permit one to have a matter heard one day per week there would be obvious advantages for a self represented litigant. Funds not spent on legal representation could be better spent on ensuring that all arguments have been developed and evidence tendered. One doubts though that the court might accept that as a schedule for proceedings. An argument put can only be denied. Should it be denied the soundness of the hearing come into question and subject to appeal. This is in effect an†evolution to allow a SRL to be on an an equal standing with the other parties who†are represented by both counsel and Family Law Specialist solicitors.

Those with experience in this regard might add illumination


What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
verdad said
It appears that the cost to the Family Court for CDs of proceedings is $18. That might be per CD or per day. Proceedings normally run four hours per hearing day. They are not available to those appearing before the court at those prices. Why not, one asks? This arose in a Full Court hearing involving Chief Justice Bryant today.

The applicant had submitted that he could not afford the $1,200 per day for transcripts. Nor could he afford to pay to listen to the digital recordings at some place at some charge?
Certainly there is provision to listen to the transcripts. It is a fairly easy process. As far as I am aware the recordings are done not on CD but on master data drives much like DVD recording.†I have a recollection there is an hourly rate of about $70.00. I am not sure that these are completely useful unless you are in an extremely complex matter that requires an appeal on a technical point of law made during the proceedings. The judgements are usually fairly detailed and often additional explanation is made directly to the parties†during†a delivered judgement. It is vital that good notes are taken during proceedings and†at judgement date†the readings are usually done at a pace that would allow you to†take good notes down. I often wonder if too much time is spent on the technical detail rather than a better†presentation†of the issues at hand. Under the new system cases are supposed to be much less adversarial and directed by the Judge or Magistrate.†A good Mackenzie friend†would be taking copious notes during the proceedings. The system based on CCP is significantly different to what it used to be pre July 1 2006.

verdad said
Apparently there is provision for one to listen to the digital recordings of the hearings at a charge. This charge (possibly hourly) was also beyond the means of the applicant. The grounds on which the applicant was appealing went to bias and inferences which were drawn from verbal testimony. Also the matter had been some years before the court. These collective grounds and an appreciation†by the judges gave momentum to the court providing the applicant with access to the resources essential to be able prepare an appeal.
I would have thought you would be hard pressed to mount an appeal on "bias" and "Inferences". Appeals are usually quite strictly related only to a point of law rather than any interpretation or "inferences".

verdad said
Should the court permit one to have a matter heard one day per week there would be obvious advantages for a self represented litigant.
The disadvantage is the loss of continuity and if on a particular thread that has unfolded due to some direction given by the Judicial Officer you could†well shoot yourself in the foot. After a week†many things could have transpired let alone the opportunity for more urgent†cases to fill the calender. It is very difficult to run such a disjointed case over the many weeks you suggest. There is a an†expectation of getting a resolve and if children are involved surely an earlier settlement is desired. I would prefer to have the matter run expeditiously however the matter you describe above seems to have gone for some years so that in itself is a major issue.

verdad said
Funds not spent on legal representation could be better spent on ensuring that all arguments have been developed and evidence tendered. One doubts though that the court might accept that as a schedule for proceedings. An argument put can only be denied. Should it be denied the soundness of the hearing come into question and subject to appeal. This is in effect an†evolution to allow a SRL to be on an an equal standing with the other parties who are represented by both counsel and Family Law Specialist solicitors.
It is generally a well prepared SRL who is already on equal ground before the case starts. I doubt a Judicial officer who directs that an argument would not be allowed, would do so in a way as to allow any appeal.†Our experience is that the majority are interested in getting results and getting results as directed by the provisions in the Family Law Act as amended in July 2006. There are many judgements listed in this forum that are†father friendly judgments. There is a definite trend to more shared time orders and the Attorney General has stated unequivocally†that should we not get the desired orders in relation to substantial time, where the parties can accomodate such time and the provisions of the Act are met, then he will bring about more chnages to the Act. I believe that is a very genuine statement.


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
†Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity

Re-examination of feedback

I do believe that $70, $80, and $90 was mentioned in respect of listening to the recording.
I agree about the necessity of note taking. It is a skill. SRLs are experientially progressing through the courts. One imagines that they would do better a second time around, but would prefer not to do so. Its taken multiple visits to the court to appreciate a little of what one needs to know. The legal profession aren't the best of sharers. I meet so few in the court observing.

The capacity of some to comprehend what is happening in court is a product of how one has embraced the language that is heard there. I regard it as high English. One lives or otherwise by the words one uses and others utilise.
Observing the progress of a friend's matter and being privy to the documentation has been very instructive.
It is well to suggest a need to be well prepared. Doing it the challenge. I'm sure that the experience would be the greatest teacher. How does one know if they are properly prepared when the matter itself has a life of its own?

Appearing in a Land Court once only to learn that statements provided by some valuers in a conference were not allowed in the hearing. That caused an unsuccessful rethink. A strategy that gave these valuers the same untouchability that expert witnesses project in the Family Court.

Continuity in a case might represent the matter just running out of control for some people. Often the perfect scenario is not always available. The definitive record is the transcript. Working off that removes the possibility of erring due to recall, fading by the day.

When I ask people representing themselves who or what they know, rarely do they have an awareness of this website.

As one does not have access to the documentation and only a brief comment from the oblivious SRL, piecing together the essence of the matter is challenging. My friend who has a high end position in the financial industry could not get into observing. His emotions were an impediment.

Even though the Chief Justice today was talking at a speed which might allow those with note taking skills to stay with it , this SRL did not get a word. The child rep barrister offered him some supporting comments. His emotional energy did not allow him to comprehend that. He was not a simple man, the occasion was bigger than him. The Full Court is more daunting in that either of the three judges can speak and its possible that various permutations are possible. In this instance they all agreed. It could be that two might reason against one, whilst the other agrees with one. The dynamic is both interesting and awesome.
The arrangement between the court and the contractor would be of interest. In essence they have a monopoly. How fair and just is that? Is there a prohibition on one recording one's matter?

What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
verdad said
I agree about the necessity of note taking. It is a skill. SRLs are experientially progressing through the courts. One imagines that they would do better a second time around, but would prefer not to do so.

The plain hard fact is that†SRL's do†a lot better the second and third time around, however with a fair amount of application many can do very well the first time around. Some become quite Court happy and actually look forward to a return -almost the same as training for a sporting activity


verdad said
The capacity of some to comprehend what is happening in court is a product of how one has embraced the language that is heard there. I regard it as high English. One lives or otherwise by the words one uses and others utilise.
  As in our Powerpoint presentations what you actually do for a living can have a profound effect on your abilities. there is no substitute for going and watching. We also encourage people to write down the terms and words that are confusing so we can give a plain English interpretation. Sometimes even legal dictionaries are confusing with the expectation that the reader has some legal knowledge. a simple term like Ex-Parte actually has 3 slightly differing interpretations in the Family Courts

verdad said
When I ask people representing themselves who or what they know, rarely do they have an awareness of this website.
We are not worried so much about this site but more the total lack of any preparation by many SRLs, then with a bad result - the Court gets blamed. This week we have 2†cases in Court. The first will get a brilliant result and the second will get crumbs. The first has a single minded dedication to obtaining a positive result. The second is so lacksidasical and unprepared that a bad result is almost guaranteed


verdad said
As one does not have access to the documentation and only a brief comment from the oblivious SRL, piecing together the essence of the matter is challenging. My friend who has a high end position in the financial industry could not get into observing. His emotions were an impediment.
This is a major obstacle and as you have read our presentations focus on some areas of this. It really has to be under some control otherwise people get lost in the wrong issues


verdad said
Is there a prohibition on one recording one's matter?
A $20,000 fine. Most registries even have a notice to this effect and it applies to all Federal Courts.












Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas.†
Agog said
verdad said
The capacity of some to comprehend what is happening in court is a product of how one has embraced the language that is heard there. I regard it as high English. One lives or otherwise by the words one uses and others utilise.
† As in our Powerpoint presentations what you actually do for a living can have a profound effect on your abilities. there is no substitute for going and watching. We also encourage people to write down the terms and words that are confusing so we can give a plain English interpretation. Sometimes even legal dictionaries are confusing with the expectation that the reader has some legal knowledge. a simple term like Ex-Parte actually has 3 slightly differing interpretations in the Family Courts
verdad said
When I ask people representing themselves who or what they know, rarely do they have an awareness of this website.
We are not worried so much about this site but more the total lack of any preparation by many SRLs, then with a bad result - the Court gets blamed. This week we have 2 cases in Court. The first will get a brilliant result and the second will get crumbs. The first has a single minded dedication to obtaining a positive result. The second is so lacksidasical and unprepared that a bad result is almost guaranteed
†I cannot stress enough the importance of reading some or all of the SRL material on this web site…A number of documents here have been produced after extensive numbers of years attending with Self Represented parties at courts.

The system is rapidly changing and Self Represented litigants are getting better at case presentation after using material from the site. We are not at this time ready to promote the web site as a lot more automation is being developed. The fact you found it was probably a reference through word of mouth. The site is extensively being expanded to cover both Family Law, Relationship Center and Child Support matters in particular… The site also deals with formulating policy for some of the leading reform groups to take to Government and other departments that deal with these family matters. Many of teh groups publish the work they are doing here.

Hopefully you will find some of the material of value. ††:)


Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
†Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
†Having self represented for the last 3 years on a continuing basis I have some observations.

Preparing is important - Don't make the mistake of thinking that the Magistrate reads all the material you prepare. In my cases the magistrate did not know my name and kept asking what we were here for. So you need not only to prepare written material in affidavit but also written responses to questions - or be able to go to the affidavit and evidence quickly.

If the magistrate is not reading the material then they must rely on the associate to summarize for them and associates are often younger people - mainly females with less world experience than others.

You not only need to write well and address the law but you need to be able to repeat things you have already written. Maybe its a test ?

Listen When a magistrate speaks and ask him to explain more clearly if you don't understand. Think about what he has said - don't react straight away and give yourself time (ask for recess) to collect thoughts and organize a response.

Keep a diary of all events and be able to prepare a written timeline of dates and events as part of the affidavit - even the simple court matters themselves ie when you went to court - what date in front of what judge, what were the orders, when was the next date, how long were you given to prepare or respond, when the affidavit was prepared, submitted, sent, - everything must have a date.

Don't assume the magistrate remembers anything or knows what happened (even if they were there at the time).

Recently for my SSAT case (it was recorded) I had to arrange Auscript to get the CD from SSAT and then paid for the transcript ( 1 Hour - $309) which they sent as word document electronically. The magistrate in my appeal when we discussed the money involved briefly flirted with the idea of me obtaining the recording and typing my own transcript - and this may be more an option in things like SSAT where its supposed to be less like a court. - This would be OK as long as whoever prepared the transcript swore that it was fair and accurate. The audio could always be provided to verify anyway.

Obviously there is much more and its probably better covered by others on this web site - I have been in court for 12 years - (3 year break) on my own matters so of course I have my own opinions and experiences.

Last edit: by Jon Pearson


Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Jon Pearson said
Preparing is important - Don't make the mistake of thinking that the Magistrate reads all the material you prepare. In my cases the magistrate did not know my name and kept asking what we were here for. So you need not only to prepare written material in affidavit but also written responses to questions - or be able to go to the affidavit and evidence quickly.



Preparation in all forms is important. Some people also make the mistake that a Judge or Magistrate may not read all the material.

Often Affidavits are so tedious that they 'beg' not to be read properly. However there are proven methods to ensure that even in a hastily scanned Affidavit the important facts are read.

Regarding the cost of transcripts some basic math will illustrate where some of the costs come from. A 'good' transcription typist can earn about $50K per annum. This can easily be doubled by the costs of actually employing this person (the rule of thumb in large corporations is that the cost of an employee is usually 2.25 times their annual salary) Divide the $100K by workable hours per annum and you get an internal cost of $59.52 per hour






Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas.†
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