A subpoena is a court order that requires a person or company officer to:
- attend a hearing to give evidence
- produce documents or other items. or
- both produce documents and attend a hearing.
You should get legal advice before preparing, filing and serving a subpoena.
Where can I get a blank subpoena?
You can get a blank subpoena from the:
registry of the Court that is hearing your case, or
- General federal law forms page on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.
What might a completed subpoena look like?
At the bottom of each subpoena you need to fill out the box with the details of:
- which party the subpoena was filed for
- who prepared it
- details of that party's lawyer (if they have one).
The second page will have the details of the order to attend and/or to produce documents, including the time, date and place the witness must attend or produce documents. There are three parts. Which part you use will depend on the type of subpoena you want to serve.
- Part A is used where you just want a witness to give evidence
- Part B is used where you want the witness to give evidence and produce documents
- Part C is used where you just want documents produced.
You can cross out the two parts you don't want to use, and fill in the details of the part you do want to use.
The third page will list the documents and items that need to be produced under the subpoena.
You need to be clear about what documents you want. If you are too vague, the Court might order that the subpoena doesn't have to be complied with.
Instructions: Instructions for filling out a Subpoena
How do I serve the subpoena?
If the subpoena requires a person to attend court and give evidence, the subpoena must be served by hand on the person. That means they should be given the subpoena, or it can be put down in their presence if they won't accept it. If the subpoena only requires someone to produce documents, it can be served by post or fax.
When serving a subpoena, you should also give the person served 'conduct money', which is enough money for them to travel from their place of residence to court. This amount should be at least $25.00.
You should make sure you give the person the extra pages that are attached to the back of the subpoena when you serve it, including:
- notes relating to the subpoena
- a Notice of Objection form.
You can leave the Notice of Objection form blank.
What is a Notice of Objection?
A Notice of Objection can be filed by the person who is served with the subpoena if they object to the subpoena for any reason. Once a Notice of Objection is filed, the Court will list the objection for hearing. If a person or company you subpoenaed has filed a Notice of Objection, you should get
For answers to commonly asked questions, see
Going to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia - Frequently Asked Questions.