New York Courts dot gov
New York StateUnified Court System

Administrative Rules of the Unified Court System & Uniform Rules of the Trial Courts

Rules of the Chief Judge

PART 29. Electronic Recording And Audio-visual Coverage In Court Facilities And Of Court Proceedings
Commercial reuse of the Rules as they appear on this web site is prohibited. The official version of the Rules published in the NYCRR is available on Westlaw.

29.1 General
29.2 Appellate courts
29.3 Trial courts
29.4 Videotape cameras and recorders

Section 29.1 General.

(a) Taking photographs, films or videotapes, or audiotaping, broadcasting or telecasting, in a courthouse including any courtroom, office or hallway thereof, at any time or on any occasion, whether or not the court is in session, is forbidden, unless permission of the Chief Administrator of the Courts or a designee of the Chief Administrator is first obtained; provided, however, that the permission of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals or the presiding justice of an Appellate Division shall be obtained with respect to the court over which each presides. Such permission may be granted if:

(1) there will be no detraction from the dignity or decorum of the courtroom or courthouse;

(2) there will be no compromise of the safety of persons having business in the courtroom or courthouse;

(3) there will be no disruption of court activities;

(4) there will be no undue burden upon the resources of the courts; and

(5) granting of permission will be consistent with the constitutional and statutory rights of all affected persons and institutions.

Permission may be conditioned upon compliance with any special requirements that may be necessary to ensure that the above conditions are met.

(b) This section shall not apply to:

(1) audio-visual coverage of proceedings in the appellate courts or the trial courts under section 29.2 or 29.3; and

(2) applications made to the appropriate court for photographing, taping or videotaping by or on behalf of the parties to the litigation and not for public dissemination.

Historical Note
Sec. filed May 3, 1971; repealed, new filed Feb. 2, 1982; amds. filed: May 28, 1985; April 1, 1996 eff. March 21, 1996.

back to top

Section 29.2 Appellate courts.

In respect to appellate courts, the Chief Judge hereby authorizes electronic photographic recording of proceedings in such courts, subject to the approval of the respective appellate court and subject to the following conditions.

(a) Equipment and personnel.

(1) Two portable videotape electronic television cameras and two camera operators shall be permitted in any proceeding in any appellate court.

(2) Two photographers to operate two still cameras with not more than two lenses for each camera and related equipment for print purposes shall be permitted in any proceeding in any appellate court.

(3) One audio system for radio broadcast purposes shall be permitted in any proceeding in any appellate court. Audio pickup for all media purposes shall be accomplished from existing audio systems in the court facility. If no technically suitable audio system exists in the court facility, microphones and related wiring essential for media purposes shall be unobtrusive and shall be located in places designated in advance of any proceeding by the presiding judge or justice of the court hearing the appeal.

(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this subdivision, the court may increase or decrease within reasonable limits the amount of equipment that will be permitted into the courtroom on finding (i) that there is a need therefor because of special circumstances, and (ii) that it will not impair the dignity of the court or the judicial process.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraphs (1)-(3) of this subdivision, the equipment authorized therein shall not be admitted into the courtroom unless interested members of the electronic media and interested print photographers shall have entered into pooling arrangements, for their respective groups, including the establishment of necessary procedures, cost sharing, access to material, and selection of a pool representative. The court may not be called upon to mediate or resolve any dispute as to such arrangements. In making pool arrangements, consideration shall be given to educational users' needs for full coverage of entire proceedings.

(6) The pool operator covering the proceedings shall retain pool material for one year. The pool operator shall make available a copy of pool material at cost to educational users, to the appellate court and to the Court of Appeals at their request.

(b) Sound and light criteria.

(1) Only television photographic and audio equipment and still camera equipment which do not produce distracting sound or light shall be employed to cover judicial proceedings. Specifically, television photographic and audio equipment shall produce no greater sound or light than the equipment designated in section 29.4 of this Part annexed to these rules; and still camera equipment shall produce no greater sound or light than a 35mm Leica "M" Series Rangefinder camera.

(2) It shall be the affirmative duty of media personnel desiring to use equipment other than that authorized in these rules or in section 29.4 of this Part to demonstrate to the court adequately in advance of any proceeding that the equipment sought to be utilized meets the sound and light criteria enunciated herein. A failure to obtain advance approval for equipment shall preclude its use in any proceeding.

(c) Location of equipment and personnel. Television and still camera equipment and camera personnel shall be positioned in such locations as shall be designated by the court. The areas designated shall provide reasonable access to coverage with the least possible interference with court proceedings. Videotape recording equipment which is not a component part of a television camera shall be located in an area outside the court facility.

(d) Movement of equipment during proceedings. Electronic still photographic and audio equipment shall not be placed in, moved about or removed from the court facility, and related personnel shall not move about the courtroom except prior to commencement or after adjournment of proceedings each day, or during a recess. Television film magazines and still camera film or lenses shall be changed only during a recess in the proceeding.

(e) Courtroom light sources. With the concurrence of the court, modifications and additions may be made in light sources existing in the facility, provided such modification or additions are installed and maintained at media expense and provided they are not distracting or otherwise offensive.

(f) Conferences of counsel. To protect the attorney-client privilege and effective right to counsel, there shall be no audio pickup or audio broadcast of conferences which occur in a court facility between attorneys and their clients, between co-counsel of a client, or between counsel and the presiding judge held at the bench, without the express consent of all participants in the conference. Nor shall any chambers conference be filmed, recorded or broadcast.

(g) Consent not required. Electronic media or print photography coverage of appellate arguments shall not be limited by the objection of counsel or parties, except for good cause shown.

(h) Appellate review. An order granting or denying the electronic media from access to any proceeding, or affecting other matters arising under these rules and standards, shall not be appealable insofar as it pertains to and arises under these rules and standards except as otherwise provided and authorized by law.

Historical Note
Sec. filed May 3, 1971; repealed, new filed Feb. 2, 1982 eff. Jan. 1, 1982.

back to top

Section 29.3 Trial courts.

Audio-visual coverage of proceedings in the trial courts shall be permitted only in accordance with the provisions of Part 131 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator.

Historical Note
Sec. filed May 3, 1971; repealed, filed Feb. 2, 1982 eff. Jan. 1, 1982; new filed Feb. 2, 1982; repealed, new filed Dec. 2, 1987 eff. Dec. 1, 1987.

back to top

Section 29.4 Videotape cameras and recorders.

1. Ikegmi HL-77, HL-33, HL-35, HL-34, HL-51
2. RCA TK-76
3. Sony DXC-1600 Trinicon
3a. ASACA ACC-2006
4. Hitachi SK-80, SK-90
5. Hitachi FP-3030
6. Phillips LDK-25
7. Sony BVP-200 ENG Camera
8. Fernseh Video Camera
9. JVC-8800 u ENG Camera
10. AKAI CVC-150, VTS-150
11. Panasonic WV-3085, NV-3085
12. JVC GC-4800 u

VIDEOTAPE RECORDERS/used with video cameras
1. Ikegami 3800
2. Sony 3800
3. Sony BVU-100
4. Ampex Video Recorder
5. Panasonic 1 inch Video Recorder
6. JVC 4400
7. Sony 3800H

Historical Note
Sec. added by renum. Appendix A-13, filed Jan. 9, 1986 eff. Jan. 6, 1986.