Attorneys in South Carolina will have to pay more for official transcripts after the state’s Supreme Court approved an amendment to its Appellate Court Rules that bumped up court reporter transcription fees across the state.
Notable among the transcription fee increases is a $1 price-per-page increase to produce an original transcript. Ginny Jones, spokesperson for the South Carolina Judicial Department, said this is the first increase in the fee for creating an original transcript in 18 years.
The court issued the order Sept. 26, and the change took effect Oct. 15.
Jones explained that transcription fees represent an opportunity for additional income for state-employed court reporters. She said that while court reporters’ starting pay begins in the $40,000-range, the transcripts offer a chance to make additional income potentially worth thousands more.
Rule 607 of the South Carolina Appellate Court Rules lays out the procedure for hiring court reporters for transcription duties. The rule says that transcripts are required for an appeal or appellate review of a post-conviction relief action before the Supreme Court or state’s Court of Appeals.
After receiving a request, the court reporter must prepare the transcript within 60 days, or else get an extension from the Office of Court Administration.
When a transcript is ordered, the party which makes the request — usually the attorney for the appealing party — pays the original transcript rate, and subsequent requesters pay a smaller copy rate.
As a result of the judicial order, the base price for creating an original transcript went from $3.25 per page to $4.25. Copy rates for original transcripts went up from $0.75 to $1 a page for copies of originals sent within seven days of a request. That number went up to $1.25 for copies sent overnight or in the same day as the request.
The price for creating expedited original transcripts also went up. Previously, to get an original transcript of a court proceeding within seven days, it would cost the requester $4.25 per page. That fee is now $5 per page. The price to get a transcript made by the end of the next day went up to $6, and getting a transcript within 24 hours of a request will now cost $7 per page.
Jones explained that the court had been reviewing court reporter compensation for months prior to approving the increase. She said the court determined it was time for an increase.
“Transcript production is an essential court function that requires skills and experience,” Jones said. “From time to time, the Supreme Court reviews these and other court fees. Upon the most recent review, the Court determined it was time to update transcription fees.”
In response to a previous correspondence about a shortage of court reporters in the state, Jones said that it’s important to acknowledge the hard work of those who report the official record of court proceedings.
“It’s important to remember that we employ nearly 100 court reporters who perform the important work of preserving the record every day,” she said. “Their contributions should not be overlooked.”
Follow Matthew Chaney on Twitter @SCLWChaney
The chart below lists the various changes to transcription fees that have happened since 2000, including those which took effect Oct. 15. (Source: South Carolina Judicial Department)
|Original transcripts, per page||$3.25||$3.25||$4.25|
|Copy of an original transcript, per page||$0.75||$0.75||$1|
|Expedited original transcripts, per page, within seven days||$4.25||$4.25||$5|
|Expedited original transcript copies, per page, within seven days||$0.75||$0.75||$1|
|Expedited original transcripts, per page, overnight||$5.25||$5.25||$6|
|Expedited original transcript copies, per page, overnight||$1||$1||$1.25|
|Expedited original transcripts, per page, same day||$6.25||$6.25||$7|
|Expedited original transcript copies, per page, same day||$1||$1||$1.25|
|Per page for each person getting real-time output when real time request is signed by requester||—||$1.50||$2|
|Per page of unedited ASCII disks when no request for original transcript is made||—||$1.50||$1.50|
|Edited ASCII disks, only available to those who requested original or copy of transcript||—||$35||$35|
|Condensed transcripts, per page, only available to those who requested original or copy of transcript||—||$1||$1.50|
|Keyword indexing, per page, only available to those who requested original or copy of transcript||—||$0.50||$1|
|Emailed transcript, only available to those who requested original or copy of transcript||—||$35||$40|
|Unedited emailed transcripts, per page||—||$1.50||$2|