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❶We will return later in this chapter to consider how this relates to defamation and privilege.

Court Report Purpose

Your Target Audience
Establish Context

The CASA always needs to have the report reviewed and edited by the county coordinator. This editing process is a cooperative effort.

Coordinators may have suggestions about better ways to effectively phrase issues: The coordinator can also verify the court report formatting. The CASA helps the coordinator understand what has been happening in the case and makes sure that the intent of the report is maintained through the editing process.

Any changes that the coordinator wishes to make in the court report should be discussed with the CASA who has written the report. Resources The seventh section contains information about all of the people directly involved with the case and the names of the people interviewed by the CASA.

Legal parties in a dependency case are only those listed in the court's Minute Entry. CASA court reports are distributed only to legal parties. Interested parties are granted the right to notice of and participation in any review or hearing concerning the child. Interested parties may include therapists, foster parents, relatives, friends, etc.

If the parents have attorneys, the parents are considered to be interested parties. If the parents do not have attorneys, then the parents are legal parties. Interested parties are not given copies of the CASA report nor are they allowed to be given confidential information. We shall deal in a moment with what each of these means. It is interesting to note that privilege is the court reporter's best friend.

The limitations placed on what we can report by a case being sub judice may seem like a difficulty; the risk of defamation may seem frightening; but privilege puts everything back into balance. The court reporter may have to wait to tell the full story, but when the time comes it can all be reported fully, without any fear of defamation. Let us look now at the three conditions a report must meet in order to be protected by qualified privilege. If evidence has been given by both prosecution and defence, the report must contain both sides.

It is not necessary to report every word that was said, but the overall balance of the court case must be retained in the report. For example, if the prosecution case took twice as long as the defence case, you could fairly devote two-thirds of your report to the prosecution evidence and only one-third to the defence evidence.

It is essential that a newspaper or broadcasting station which starts to report a court case, continues to do so every day until it is finished. Otherwise the report of the case as a whole cannot be fair, and it will then lose the protection of privilege. It is essential that court reporters do not make mistakes. What the witness says may be quoted, but it must be an accurate quote. Court reporters need good shorthand. If the reason you publish or broadcast a court report is to do harm to the defendant - that is, you are being malicious - then you can lose the protection of privilege.

This is not something which you need to worry about very often. You will report court cases on their merits, day after day and week after week. You will report them for the reasons we have already discussed - to inform readers or listeners about what is happening in courts.

There will not normally be any malice towards anybody involved in any case. The only time a problem might arise would be if the defendant is a known enemy of you or the owner or editor of the newspaper, radio or television station.

In this case, you must be very careful to treat the case in the same way you would treat any other similar case.

If you publish every word of prosecution evidence, on page one, and the person is later acquitted, he may try to sue you for defamation. If he can show that the way the case was reported was actuated by malice, you will lose the defence of privilege.

Contemporaneous is a long word, but it means the next issue of the newspaper or the next news bulletin. In some legal systems, such as Britain, as long as you publish or broadcast a court report contemporaneously, you will have a special kind of protection from privilege called absolute privilege. In this case, your report only has to be fair and accurate; it does not matter whether or not it was actuated by malice.

For a daily morning newspaper, a court report is privileged in this way if it is published in the next morning's issue. For a daily evening newspaper, it must be published in the same day's issue, unless the hearing finished too late, in which case it must appear in the next day's issue. For radio or television, the report is privileged in this way if it is used on any bulletin up to the start of the next day's hearing.

It can be used on the evening bulletin, and again next morning, but not after that. We shall return to consider the different kinds of privilege in more detail, in Chapter To help you understand how sub judice applies during legal processes, see this Sub judice Char t.

It illustrates how sub judice, defamation and privilege work at different stages in legal processes. While sub judice restricts what else you can report about the legal process, fair and accurate reports of the proceedings themselves are protected from defamation by privilege.

Courts are usually open to the public; journalists are free to report what goes on there. Reports are protected against defamation, as long as they are: This is the end of the first part of this three-part section on court reporting. If you now want to read on, follow this link to the second section, Chapter A quick way to find what you're looking for in The News Manual is through the Index.

It has more than links to concepts throughout the manuals. The rules of court reporting. Sub judice From the time that somebody is about to be charged with an offence, up to the moment when the court finishes dealing with it, the case is said to be sub judice. We shall look in detail in a moment at what we are and what we are not allowed to write. We will return later in this chapter to consider how this relates to defamation and privilege. Public confidence in the law If ordinary law-abiding people are to feel that their society is strong enough to protect them from criminals, then they have to have a system of law enforcement which they feel confident about.

Deterrence and publicity Society needs journalists to attend court cases and to report exactly what happens there - who is accused of what, what evidence is brought for the prosecution and for the defence, what the court's decision is, and so on. It cannot possibly do this unless people know what punishment is handed out to law-breakers.

Strong stories There is another very good reason why newspapers and broadcasting stations send reporters to court, as well as the social duty they perform.

It must be fair If evidence has been given by both prosecution and defence, the report must contain both sides. It must be accurate It is essential that court reporters do not make mistakes.

Any significant inaccuracy will leave the whole of a report unprotected by privilege. It must not be actuated by malice If the reason you publish or broadcast a court report is to do harm to the defendant - that is, you are being malicious - then you can lose the protection of privilege.

Contemporaneous reporting of a court case Contemporaneous is a long word, but it means the next issue of the newspaper or the next news bulletin. For a weekly newspaper, it must appear in the next issue. Sub judice illustrated To help you understand how sub judice applies during legal processes, see this Sub judice Char t. Fair Accurate Without malice This is the end of the first part of this three-part section on court reporting.

Make sure to give all necessary information that is crucial to reach the decision that will be fair and based on solid evidence. For instance, in a situation, where the kid has disclosed abuse, as well as retracted the statement, the department must provide the court with the information about both the disclosure and the retraction.

Besides, the department is obliged to provide explanations on why one statement has been considered, while the other has been given less weight. Where the court report author does not participate in the process of the assessment, he or she is obliged to source the content of the report in a proper manner. For instance, in cases, where you are required to generate a report for the court on a particular case that has been already managed by some other individual, it is required to note directly at the beginning of the project: When faced with a contradictory ideas on how to write a court report, remember that presenting your information in plain English is a must.

Keep repetition to a minimum. How to Write a Court Report August 18th,


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A court report can change the course of someone's life. Court reports are presented to the judge in certain types of cases, including criminal proceedings against a minor and adoption hearings. By presenting information in the correct format and order, you can help influence the result of the hearing.

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Writing a court report is one of the most important responsibilities of a CASA. The court report is the official method that a Court Appointed Special Advocate uses to inform the judge about what the advocate has learned about the appointed child and family. Read some tips on how to write a professional court report. Read some tips on how to write a professional court report. Writing Court Stories. Search the site GO. Issues. Journalism U.S. Government U.S. Foreign Policy U.S. Liberal Politics U.S. Conservative Politics Women's Issues.

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Submission of Last Minute Information to the Court Time Frames for Submission of Court Reports Writing a Status Review Hearing Report for a WIC Section , . In order to produce a concise and compelling court report, your number one task is to guide your target audience to what is really important. In other word.