Court stenographers to be replaced with digital recording

Topics: Courts business

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The quiet tapping of the court stenographer will be silenced by next year to be replaced with a high-tech recording system.

The Digital Audio Recording Transcription and Storage (Darts) will begin rollout in June 2011 and finish in March 2012 at each of the 97 Crown and combined court sites in England and Wales.

Darts has been piloted at seven Crown Court sites since October 2009, and the Ministry of Justice said the system offers clear audio quality and backup, easy playback and a faster transcription service.

A spokesperson for Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) said the new technology will mean the end for court loggers during proceedings, with the system updated by court clerks when witnesses are called, evidence is given and points of law granted.

‘As this link between the systems has been built, there is no longer a requirement for HMCTS to continue to use loggers and stenographers,’ she added.

‘While Darts was being extensively tested, the impact on the roles of the clerks and ushers was assessed. Evaluation showed the system to be popular with court staff and the impact of Darts on staff time to be minimal compared to realisation of financial benefit for HMCTS.’

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