How To Serve A Civil Supboena

SC-107 Small Claims Subpoena for Personal appearance and production of documents arrow

Do You Need To Serve A Subpoena?

requiring the other side or a third party to produce books, records, or other documents for inspection (a subpoena is a written order issued by a court forcing a person to testify or produce certain physical evidence such as records).

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 Requests for production of documents — these are requests for a particular document or class of documents likely to be relevant to your case.

  1. Fill out your Subpoena.

Fill out a Civil Subpoena (Form SUBP-001). Write in the full and correct name of the other party or witness.

If you also want him or her to bring papers to the hearing (or trial), use the Civil Supoena (Duces Tecum) (Form SUBP-002) and describe exactly what papers they must to bring to the hearing (or trial).

  1. Take the Subpoena to the clerk to have it issued.

The clerk will look at the Subpoena and may ask you a few questions. The clerk will then issue, sign and stamp your Subpoena "Filed.”

  1. Make copies of your filed Subpoena.

Make at least 2 copies of the Subpoena. One for you and another for the other party or witness.

  1. Serve the Subpoena.

Serve a copy of the Civil Subpoena on the person you want to come to court. It must be served within a “reasonable time” in order for the other person to be able to travel to the hearing (or trial).

Anyone, even you, can serve your Subpoena, but this must be done IN PERSON (not by mail).

  1. Fill out Page 3 of the original Civil Subpoena.

Have the person who served the Subpoena fill out the page and sign at the bottom of page 3.

  1. Return the Subpoenato the clerk before your hearing (or trial).

Keep in mind

  • Objections: The other party or witness has the right to object to the subpoena. If the other party objects to the subpoena, and you are not able to reach a written agreement to change the language of the subpoena, he or she must file a request for order to quash the subpoena. If the witness is a non-party, he or she has the right to file and serve written objections, and then it becomes your obligation to seek a court order for the non-party witness to comply with the subpoena. If you have received a subpoena and want to object, click to learn how.
  • Witness fees:  The other party or witness has the right to ask for a fee for the day they appear, and reimbursement for mileage to travel to the court hearing.
  • Failure to obey subpoena:  A person who disobeys a subpoena can be immediately punished by the court for contempt (including a $500 monetary sanction, plus other expenses caused by the failure to comply).

Subpoenas for Business Records Only

This type of subpoena can be used to get copies of documents directly from a bank (like checking or savings account statements and loans under a person’s name), a credit card company, or an employer. In some situations, you may want to use this kind of subpoena if the other party does not go to the hearing or give his or her financial documents.

This kind of subpoena tells the custodian of records (the person at the bank or other institution in charge of the records) to provide copies of the business records at the time of a:

  1. Hearing or trial (you can use the form Civil Subpoena (Duces Tecum) for Personal Appearance and Production of Documents, Electronically Stored Information, and Things at Trial or Hearing and Declaration (Form SUBP-002); or
  2. Deposition (you can use the form Deposition Subpoena For Personal Appearance and Production of Documents and Things(Form SUBP-020)). If you use Form SUBP-020, but you do not need the custodian of records to actually appear at the deposition, the subpoena form can be modified. Ask a lawyer for more information.

Before you can ask for these consumer or employee records, the other party must get notice and an opportunity to object (the person objecting can use the form Notice to Consumer or Employee and Objection (Form SUBP-025).

The procedure for this type of subpoena can be complicated. Talk to a lawyer for help.