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Getting copies of court transcripts

To some people’s surprise, not all court proceedings are recorded and/or transcribed. For example, no formal records of Magistrate Court hearings are kept. Obviously, the outcome of these hearings are detailed, but the actual proceedings cannot be replicated as they are recorded.

The original material (the shorthand notes, tape recordings, etc.) of any Crown Court trial belong to Ministry of Justice (MOJ). It is created and held by one of several Court Transcribing firms who are contracted by the MOJ.

You are entitled to apply to the reporting firm for a transcript (for which the reporting firm makes a commercial charge) provided you have obtained permission from the court concerned. The copyright in all transcripts remains with the Crown. The Crown gives blanket permission for copying and distribution of transcripts for any legitimate criminal justice function and/or for access to personal data.

If you wish to obtain a copy of a court case where you were the defendant, you should speak to the court concerned for details of how to go about this. Each court will be linked to a company that is responsible for transcribing at that court.

Please note: It is not possible to get a transcript of a hearing if the record of the hearing is no longer stored. Generally, records are only held for 5 years.

If you have previously had your case referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, they may be able to provide you with a copy of your court transcripts. You can view their policy in CCRC – Court Transcripts Formal Memorandum.


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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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