One of the most burdensome expenses for pro-per litigants is the exorbitant cost of obtaining transcripts of hearings and trials. Fortunately, California has a program for reimbursing litigants for court reporter transcripts:
- In a qualifying civil case, a pro per litigant (pro per) is granted a waiver of fees by the judge.
- Pro per (in a civil case) requests transcript(s) from the CSR. Once the pro per has been granted a waiver of fees, the pro per will contact the CSR directly for an estimate.
- The CSR either: a) refers the pro per to the Court Reporters (CR) Board website to download a (pilot project) application and instructions; or b) provides a hard copy (if available) to the pro per.
- The pro per completes the application and submits it (along with a copy of his/her approved FEE WAIVER) to the CR Board.
- CR Board staff review the application package. A) If denied, a letter is sent to the pro per explaining why the request has been denied. B) If the application is accepted, the CR Board sends a “provisional approval” letter to the pro per, with a courtesy copy to the court reporter identified in the application. The provisional approval letter will state that once a final invoice (detailing the costs; i.e. number of pages, charge per page, expedite/daily or delivery fees) and proof of delivery are received, all eligible costs will be reimbursed through the Transcript Reimbursement Fund.
- Upon receiving their copy of the provisional approval letter, the CSR is to start preparation of the transcript, as the only barrier to payment is receipt of final invoice and proof of delivery.
- The CSR’s copy of the provisional approval letter will contain a blank Payee Data Record (std. 204). When completed, the form must be returned (via scanned email, fax or US mail) to the CR Board. [Prior to authorizing payment, the State Controller’s Office requires a tax ID form to be on file for all payees.]
- Once a final invoice and proof of delivery are received from the CSR, the CR Board approves payment through the State Controller’s Office and sends a confirming letter to the CSR. Payment cannot be processed without proof of delivery.
- Payment is generally received within 8 weeks of the date the payment is authorized.
- Reimbursement amounts are governed by CA Business & Professions Code 8030.6–8 and limited in this pilot project to $1,500 per case. Included are: Regular/customary charges for original and one copy, or a copy of transcripts, regular/customary expedite or daily fees, exhibits (.35 per exhibit/up to $35 per transcript), shipping/delivery costs. Items not included are: notary fees, handling charges, or any electronic media (videography, ASCII, CD format or realtime expenses).
Read more information here: http://www.courtreportersboard.ca.gov/licensees/pro_per_app.shtml