OASIS LegalXML Legal Transcripts TC

The original Call For Participation for this TC may be found at http://lists.oasis-open.org/archives/tc-announce/200207/msg00010.html

The charter for this TC is as follows.


Legal Transcripts Technical Committee in the LegalXML Member Section of OASIS

The Technical Committee plans to constitute the following subcommittees, and such additional subcommittees as shall appear necessary and appropriate to carrying out the Technical Committee's purpose:

  • Static or completed transcript standard Subcommittee
  • Realtime or streamed transcript standard Subcommittee

Statement of Purpose

Legal transcripts are documents that are created in courthouses, hearing rooms and private depositions. Their primary purpose is to be a verbatim record of the dialogue that took place. They are used to review testimony and decisions, and as an historical archive of the events that occurred. A transcript is usually recorded by a single reporter, but may be also be the work of two or more reporters. There are two separate transcript standards that will be created:

  • Static or completed transcript standard
  • Realtime or streamed transcript standard

Current best practice includes the addition of non-dialogue information by the reporter, to make the transcript easier to read. The non-dialogue information includes indexes of witnesses and exhibits, as well as headings and asides within the transcript itself to reflect major sections, examinations by different attorneys, and non-spoken courtroom or deposition activity. Typically, each transcript reflects the content of a single session on a single day, although some transcripts may extend across days.

The purpose of this TC is to develop:

  1. an XML compliant syntax for representing legal transcript documents either as stand-alone structured content, or as part of other legal records.
  2. an XML compliant syntax for representing realtime streamed legal transcript.

Such transcripts will be able to provide access to the verbatim record, and any meta-information that is important within the context of that transcript. The core scope of this activity will be in specifying the necessary data model of legal transcripts and realtime streamed transcripts and the syntax of their representation in XML. The core activities are:

  1. Defining a data model that describes current transcript formats for both static and realtime.
  2. Using the transcript data model to design the Proposed Recommendation of the LegalXML-Transcript standard.
  3. Documenting the working group's position on citation to transcripts with a LegalXML note.
  4. Define the charter for subsequent work once (1-3) have been achieved.


The Working Group must meet the following requirements:

  1. Coordinate with other LegalXML recommendations, in particular in the area of Horizontal tags, Citation and Signatures. (See Coordination)
  2. After being advanced to Proposed Recommendation, implement the mandatory portions of the specification in at least two independent implementations.

The following requirements must be met by the LegalXML-Transcript standard the Working Group develops:

  1. Specify a minimum set of tags that all LegalXML -Static and realtime Transcript documents must contain.
  2. Permit the accurate and unambiguous capture of the spoken dialogue being transcribed.
  3. Ensure that the chronological order of the content within the transcript is explicitly preserved.
  4. Contain a useful and extensible base set of tags for representation of non-dialogue transcript information.
  5. Handle all legal transcripts, regardless of transcription method.
  6. Ensure that transcripts both with and without non-dialogue information can be easily represented.
  7. Support unambiguous paper or electronic citation to both locations and ranges within transcripts.
  8. Where electronic citation is not possible, ensure that excerpts of transcripts can be easily represented within other documents.
  9. Support time stamping of the content.
  10. Support simultaneous page/line and structure-based organization of content.
  11. Support the use of the signature standard adopted by LegalXML to represent certification of the transcript.
  12. Use Horizontal working group tags where appropriate.
  13. Permit external entities such as exhibits to be referred to within the Transcript.
  14. Make use of W3C standards where appropriate.
  15. Support non-English languages.
  16. Define a sufficient representation of the certified transcript, through a stylesheet or some other appropriate mechanism.


The working group will not directly address the following issues:

  1. Untranslated transcripts (stenographic notes)
  2. Versioning of transcripts, including judicial interference in the transcript content.
  3. A mandate for electronic or digital signing of the transcript.
  4. Requirements for on-screen or printed transcript presentation, except insofar as existing page/line and header/footer representation will be permitted.
  5. Workflow before, during or after a transcribed session

List of Deliverables

The Legal Transcripts Technical Committee plans to complete the following tasks during its first year of operation:

This working group will deliver the following:

  • LegalXML Working Draft identifying the requirements and data-model of legal transcripts being considered by the working group.
  • LegalXML Proposed Standard for the representation of transcript in XML.
  • LegalXML Unofficial Note documenting a set of test cases for interoperability testing.
  • Once accepted by the appropriate LegalXML/OASIS committee, the Recommended Standard for LegalXML Transcript.

Duration and Milestones

The following key milestones were achieved by the former LegalXML work group. This work will be the basis of the list milestones for both Static and Realtime work. The aid clarity the Static and Realtime milestones are listed separately:

  • Jan 00 First Requirements Draft
  • Feb 00 Last Call for Data Model; becomes a Note
  • Feb 00 First Static Syntax Working Draft
  • May 00 Second Static Syntax Working Draft

Static Transcript milestones:

  • Static Sample Transcripts available on WG Web site
  • Working Draft of Static Transcript standard
  • Interoperability Test Cases and Results document Finalized
  • Last Call for Static Syntax Working Draft
  • Interoperability Test Cases and Results for Static Standard
  • Last Call for Proposed Static Standard; submitted to Legal XML Standards Committee

Realtime Transcript milestones:

  • Realtime Data Model Finalized; becomes a Note
  • First Realtime Syntax Working Draft
  • First Realtime Syntax Working Draft
  • Meeting to discuss Realtime Syntax Working Draft (TBD)
  • Last Call for Proposed Realtime Standard; submitted to Legal XML Standards Committee
  • Realtime Data Model (Requirements) First Draft
  • Post the Legal Transcripts 1.0 on the Technical Committee site for general information and comment.

Standing Rules

The Legal Transcripts Technical Committee will follow the operating rules of OASIS and any operating rules adopted by the LegalXML Member Section Steering Committee with the approval of OASIS management and the OASIS Board of Directors. In addition, the Technical Committee will abide by the following practices:

  1. All decisions will be made by consensus.
  2. All decisions made subject to ratification or rejection by the full membership of the Technical Committee on the list serve.
  3. All email discussions concerning the technical work of the Technical Committee and its subcommittees will take place on OASIS supported list serves.
  4. One member of the Technical Committee and of each subcommittee will serve as ombudsman to monitor the public list for that entity and provide input from the public list to the committee and subcommittee discussions.
  5. In no event shall this Technical Committee finalize or approve any technical specification if the use, distribution, or implementation of such specification would necessarily require the unauthorized infringement of any third party rights, and such third party has not agreed to provide necessary license rights on perpetual, royalty-free, non-discriminatory terms.