Legislature approves Wieckowski bill affirming the right to have a court reporter in arbitration proceedings

August 24, 2016

SACRAMENTO – A party to an arbitration proceeding will have the right to have a certified court reporter present to create an official record under a bill authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) and approved by the California State Senate today.  Senate Bill 1007 now goes to Governor Brown for his consideration.

“People are often forced into binding private arbitration just by purchasing common goods or services, so it’s especially important for their protection that a court reporter is present to transcribe the proceedings and create an official record,” said Wieckowski, a member of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee.  “This will ensure that consumers’ due process rights are protected and a reviewing court will have a transcript that includes evidence when there are instances of bias or misconduct that may have occurred from the arbitration proceedings.”

Some of the major Alternative Dispute Resolution providers acknowledge the importance of having a record of the proceedings, but the practice is not universal. 

"In arbitrations, as in all legal proceedings, the existence of a reporter’s transcript can be absolutely essential to obtaining justice,” said Larry Doyle, legislative representative of the Conference of California Bar Associations. “Without such a record, the reviewing court must assume that the arbitration award is correct, even if the record – if it existed – might clearly show error or misconduct. We are pleased that the Legislature has approved this bill to guarantee parties the right to create these essential records and protect against miscarriages of justice."

For indigent consumers in a consumer arbitration, a court reporter will be provided upon request at the expense of the non-consumer party.  

Senator Wieckowski represents the 10th District, which includes southern Alameda County and Santa Clara County.