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Robin Smith

Mr Smith was denied access to his own court transcript due to copyright concerns raised by Smith’s solicitor. This has restricted Mr Smith’s ability to make informed decisions in regards to his impending appeal.

Mr Smith’s solicitor has informed Justice Action that Mr Smith is allowed a hard copy of the transcript, however, only after the appeal. A digital copy could not be provided. Nevertheless, this copyright concern outlined by Mr Smith’s solicitor is inconsistent with the principles and rules outlined on the official NSW Court websites, where it states that:[1] 

The parties to the proceedings or the legal representatives are entitled to obtain a copy of a transcript for a set fee.

Furthermore, in accordance with Supreme Court Practice Note No. SC Gen 2, parties involved in the court matter as well as their legal representatives are permitted to access the transcript from court proceedings.[2] This is reaffirmed on the Supreme Court Website, which states that while the photocopying of court transcripts is not permitted under copyright laws, the reproduction of transcripts is permitted in regards to its use in court proceedings.[3]

Hence, Mr. Smith and his legal representatives are entitled to copies of his court transcript, to ensure that he is fully informed and able to participate in his upcoming appeal process. Access to court transcripts whilst incarcerated is a long process which lacks thorough information, and particularly limits prisoners’ fundamental access to justice.

It is essential to have access to transcripts and other materials in order to prepare the best possible case for the accused and ensure his right to a fair trial.


[1] NSW Department of Justice, Court Transcripts (Web Page, 20 April 2016) <www.courts.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/cats/support/transcripts.aspx>

[2]Supreme Court of New South Wales, Practice Note Gen 2 of 2006 – Supreme Court – Access to Court File (Web Page, 3 January 2006) pt 6.

[3] Supreme Court of New South Wales, Transcripts (Web Page, 8 February 2017) <http://www.supremecourt.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/sco2_transcripts/sco2_transcripts.aspx>.

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