Administering Oaths Remotely by Court Reporters and Stenographers

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Help the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association eliminate the in-person requirement to swear in a witness in a legal proceeding of record.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, PCRA leadership successfully worked with state legislators to suspend the requirement for physical presence of notaries who are court reporters/stenographers participating in criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings in Pennsylvania. However, the suspension of this requirement is temporary, and will only last for the duration of the declared disaster emergency.

PCRA believes that the in-person requirement should be permanently eliminated, as has already been done in several other states. Show your support for our position that legal proceedings should be able to be held with the use of available technology!

Background:  

Court reporters are notaries public authorized to administer oaths or affirmations, among other notarial acts. Current Pennsylvania law requires notarial acts, even those performed with respect to electronic records, be done in the physical presence of the notary.  Therefore, in Pennsylvania, those participating in legal proceedings of record have been unable to utilize cutting-edge technologies -- videoconference, web depositions, Zoom meetings, phone depositions – when conducting business.

During the current COVID-19 virus state of emergency, the Governor approved the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association’s request to suspend the physical presence of notaries who are court reporters or stenographers participating in criminal, civil and administrative proceedings and allow legal proceedings to proceed with the court reporter appearing remotely. 

This suspension of the requirement of the physical presence of the court reporter IS TEMPORARY.  Many other states have already eliminated this physical presence requirement for administering oaths.  The Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association has been working tirelessly to accomplish the same in Pennsylvania.

Please assist us in garnering support for our position that legal proceedings should be able to be held with the use of available technology, by eliminating the requirement in the Pennsylvania Notary Law for the Pennsylvania court reporter to be in the presence of the witness to administer the oath.