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Court Records

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how long all forms of court recordings, tapes and transcripts are held by her Department or outsourced companies; and if she will make a statement. (93459)

The time periods for the retention of all forms of court recordings, tapes and transcripts are different depending on whether they relate to county court, RCJ (High Court and Appeal Court) or Crown Court proceedings. There is no legislative requirement for proceedings in the magistrates' courts to be recorded.

To comply with public records legislation, record retention and disposition schedules [RRDS] are held by Record Management Services, DCA. These detail individual types of record that are created in the specific area to each of the schedules relate. Hearing tapes relating to county court proceedings may be wiped and re-used after three years and are destroyed after six years. The related tape logs are destroyed once the tape to which they refer is wiped or destroyed. Recordings relating to RCJ hearings are retained for six years. Transcripts of county court and RCJ hearings are retained for six years.

Recordings and logs relating to criminal court proceedings are retained for five years. Contractors who are responsible for preparing and retaining transcripts are bound by the terms of specific contracts to comply with these retention periods.