QLD Criminal Transcript Costs AddressedDawn Mahler
In a recent media interview, a spokesperson for the Queensland Law Society suggested that outsourcing court reporting in Queensland had pushed up the price of justice such that transcripts can cost defendants in Queensland criminal matters up to $300 or $400 an hour.
I’d like to clarify this reference is made in regard to audio hours – that is, the cost of having an hour of court proceedings transcribed – not labour hours (transcripts are still a handmade product). On average, it takes between 3 and 5 labour hours to transcribe a single hour of recorded court proceedings. This equates to a cost to the customer of between $50 and $80 per labour hour.
The reality is, that for over 95% of the criminal hearings recorded and transcribed by Auscript as part of the Queensland Courts contract, parties receive the transcript for free. Transcripts of Criminal Magistrates Court proceedings such as Mentions or Callovers do attract a production fee, however they amount to fewer than 5% of criminal court transcripts ordered at an average cost to parties of $200 per transcript.
I therefore dispute the Queensland Law Society’s assertion that the cost has become a burden to the defendant – in fact, I would argue that the cost of justice with regard to criminal matters has changed very little, however the quality and speed of service has improved markedly which in turn improves access to justice in Queensland.
Looking forward, the President of the Queensland Law Society, Mr Ian Brown, and I have today agreed to meet to discuss any issues that may exist with the services Auscript provides to the legal profession and parties to proceedings in Queensland.
I will provide a further update following that meeting in due course.
Peter Wyatt, Auscript CEO and Managing Director