HC Deb 24 July 1967 vol 751 cc52-3W
Mr. Oakes

asked the Attorney-General what is the total number of shorthand writers employed in criminal courts; and whether he is satisfied that the number of such staff is adequate to the present needs.

The Attorney-General

Appointments as Official Shorthand Writers to the various courts, both criminal and civil, are given not to individual shorthand writers but to firms who employ the individuals. For this reason, accurate figures of the total number of shorthand writers employed in the criminal courts cannot be given, but there are believed to be about 250 shorthand writers qualified for taking shorthand notes of court proceedings. Owing to the marked increase in the number of criminal trials, their increased length, the high percentage of criminal appeals and recruitment difficulties, the firms of Official Shorthand Writers are finding it increasingly difficult to man the courts to which they have been appointed and to furnish the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal with transcripts within a reasonable time. It is for this reason that my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor is extending the provision of mechanical recording equipment as rapidly as possible.