Australian Courts are generally open to the public. This means that in most matters, parties interested can sit the public gallery of the court room, and watch proceedings. However, when it comes to recording a court hearing, it’s not so simple. Our Family Lawyers explain why.

Are you allowed to record a court hearing in Australia? An explanation of the legislation

We are asked many questions about court attendance For example, "Are you allowed to record a court hearing?".  All matters listed before a Judge are recorded by the court. However, personally recording a Court hearing is strictly prohibited whether in person or online. For this reason, all participants are prohibited from recording by any means. Consequently, there are significant penalties which may apply should you be found to have recorded or videoed a Court hearing.  The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 and the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) expressly prohibit the publication or dissemination of an account of any family law proceedings which identifies a party, witness or person associated with the proceedings.

What if I want a transcript?

Nonetheless, if something a Judge, witness or other party says is concerning to you and you would like a transcript of the proceedings, a transcript will be available through the Court’s transcription services provider: Ausscript. These transcriptions are obviously done in accordance with the Court and adhere to all necessary requirements.  A party in the proceedings or their solicitor can purchase a full or partial copy of any court proceeding from Ausscript. The cost for this is required to be paid by the party requesting the transcription and is not shared amongst the other parties. Moreover, a person who is not a party to proceedings cannot request a copy of any transcription.

Limitations on acquiring transcripts 

Finally, there is no time frame in which a party can request a copy of a transcription as the Court retains its records for ten years. If you request a transcript it will be provided within an appropriate time.  However, you cannot request transcripts of any dispute resolution or conciliation conferences as these are strictly confidential and not recorded. Additionally, divorce hearings before a Deputy Registrar are generally not recorded.  Should you wish to request a copy of a transcription please contact our Family Law team on 02 9891 6388.

New South Lawyers’ communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication.

To find out more, chat with a member of New South Lawyers' Family Law Team today.