Two-Year Training Course for Court Reporters

Thirty of the island’s court reporters are taking part in a two-year training course designed to improve their skills in recording court proceedings.
The full time diploma programme is being funded by the Ministry of Justice at a cost of $15 million and will be conducted at the Justice Training Institute (JTI), located on Camp Road in Kingston. The National Court Reporters Association in Virginia, United States is accrediting the course, which is the only one of its kind being offered in the region.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer, who addressed the participants at the recent orientation exercise at the Ministry’s New Kingston office, told them that the course would prepare them to record trial proceedings verbatim.
“This is a highly specialized and intensive course, but on successful completion, you, as court reporters, will possess the requisite skills to record testimony [of] up to 220 words per minute, perform real time translation and produce transcripts in keeping with international standards,” she said.
As part of the course, the participants will use state-of-the-art equipment, procured through the assistance of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), under the Social Conflict and Legal Reform (SCLR) Project. “It is the role of the court reporter to record history as it happens,” she emphasized.
Although this is the third batch of court reporters to participate in the course, it is significantly, the first group to be trained since the programme was integrated into the JTI. “The Court Reporting School was a stand-alone entity. We decided to put it under the auspices of the Justice Training Institute for two reasons,” Mr. Palmer informed.
The first was to secure cost effectiveness and efficiency of delivery, and the second, to provide a professional academic environment.
“Also, we are moving toward fulfilling a vision of making the Institute a regional entity, and then providing training in justice [related] areas. And, so it is important that we put all our training offerings in one place, where we can maximize on whatever resources we have,” she added.
Although the inclusion of the Court Reporting School into the JTI officially took place on September 1 this year, it has been a work-in-progress over the past two years, Mrs. Palmer pointed out.
In his address, Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe, appealed to participants to “clothe themselves in the spirit of commitment to the cause of justice, and to operate with the utmost integrity”.
He reminded them that the transcripts they produced were of great importance, as these were the official records of the court and were used when persons were making appeals, after their trials had been concluded. “That is what justice is all about – integrity. You can’t be in the justice system and lack integrity,” he reminded the trainees.

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