Receiving a Subpoena

A subpoena is a legal document issued by a court that compels a person to give evidence at a hearing or trial, and/or produce documents.

If you have received a subpoena (you are the ‘named person’), you need to comply with it unless the subpoena was not correctly served on you or you were not provided with conduct money.

If you wish to object to a subpoena to give evidence, or a subpoena to give evidence and produce documents, you must still attend court on the date stated on the subpoena so your objection will be heard.

If you wish to object to a subpoena to produce documents, see objecting to a subpoena below.

Complying with a subpoena

A subpoena may require you to:

Subpoena to give evidence

If you have been served with a subpoena to give evidence, you need to attend Court on the date specified in Part C of the subpoena.

Subpoena to produce documents and give evidence

If you have been served with a subpoena to give evidence and produce documents, you need to:

Subpoena to produce documents

If you have been served with a subpoena to produce documents and you do not object to their production, you must provide the documents to the Subpoena Officer before the date of production (the ‘production date’) specified in Part E of the subpoena. If you wish to object to the documents being inspected or copied by any party, see how to object to a subpoena below.

Providing documents to the Subpoena Officer

To produce documents to the Subpoena Officer, you need to provide the following documents to the registry in person or by post:

Important - Do not send the documents to the person who asked for the subpoena to be issued. The documents must be produced to the Court.

Objecting to a subpoena to produce documents

You can object to:

Objecting to producing the documents

You can object to the producing of documents for reasons such as:

These objections can lead to an order setting aside all or part of the subpoena. The Court may also order that a party pay for any loss or expense relating to your attendance and production of the documents.

Objecting to the parties inspecting or copying the produced documents

If you produce the documents to the Court, the parties and the Independent Children’s Lawyer (if any) may be able to inspect and copy the documents unless you object to this.

Even if you have no objection to the documents being inspected or copied, a party or the Independent Children’s Lawyer may object to this. If so, they must advise you of this in writing. However, unless you object, you do not need to do anything else.

How to object to a subpoena to produce documents

If you wish to object you must, before the production date:

You will be advised of a date when you must attend Court for the Court to hear and determine your objection.

You should bring the documents to the hearing, (if you have not already provided them to the Court), in case it is necessary for the Court to view the documents in order to decide on your objection.

Return of subpoenaed documents

When you produce the subpoenaed documents to the Court, you will also provide the Notice from named person (which is attached to the brochure Information for people who have been served with a subpoena, which you should have been served with by the issuing party). This form authorises the Court to destroy the documents if you do not need the documents returned to you.

The Court will securely destroy the documents if it is authorised to do so, otherwise the documents will be returned to you no less than 42 days after the final orders in the application or appeal.

Conduct money

The party who asks the Court to issue the subpoena needs to pay conduct money to the person required to comply with it. See the subpoena page for details of the set amounts.

There is a minimum set amount of conduct money, which is intended to cover the reasonable expenses of complying with the subpoena. For example, the costs of:

If you will incur substantial loss or expense in properly complying with the subpoena, you may apply to the Court for an order that the party who requested the subpoena pay you an amount in addition to the conduct money. If you anticipate that you will incur a substantial loss or expense, you need to notify to the party that requested the subpoena before complying with the subpoena, and include an estimate of the loss or expense.

Consequences for not complying with a subpoena

If you do not comply with a subpoena, the Court can:

The Court may also find you guilty of contempt of court.


Last updated: 1-May-2019

[ back to top ]