A subpoena is a court order that requires a person or company officer to:
attend a hearing to give evidence
produce documents or other item, or
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 form?
You can get a blank subpoena form 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 should I include in a subpoena?
At the bottom of each subpoena on the first page you need to fill in the box with the details of:
the name and role of the party that filed the subpoena, for example, the applicant
who prepared it (if you prepared the subpoena, this will be you)
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 court or produce the documents. There are three parts. You will use:
Part A if you want a witness to give evidence
Part B if you want the witness to give evidence and produce documents
Part C if 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 which documents you want. If your request is too broad, the Court might order that the subpoena doesn't have to be complied with.
Instructions: Instructions for filling out a Subpoena to Produce
Sample: Subpoena to Produce
What do I do with the subpoena?
After you have filled out the subpoena, you need to take the original and two copies to the Court registry and file them. The Court will keep the original subpoena and give you back the copies, sealed with the Court’s stamp. You keep one of the copies and serve (give) the other copy on your employer.
If you can’t get to the Court to file the subpoena, you can file it by post. You should contact the Court to find out where to send your documents.
You cannot file and serve more than five subpoenas unless the Court gives you permission. If you think you will need more than five subpoenas you should tell the Judge at a directions hearing.
How do I serve the subpoena?
If the subpoena requires a person to attend court and give evidence, it must be:
served by hand on the person, which means they should be given the subpoena or it can be put down in their presence if they refuse to accept it
served on the person at least seven days before the date the subpoena says they have to attend court (unless the court orders a different date).
If the subpoena only requires a person to produce documents, it:
When serving a subpoena, you should also give the person 'conduct money', which is enough money for them to travel from their place of residence to court, or produce documents. This amount should be at least $25.00 for a subpoena to attend. If you serve a subpoena to produce, the person or company being subpoenaed may ask for more.
You should get
legal advice if you are not sure how much conduct money you should pay.
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:
You can leave the Notice of Objection form blank.
What is a Notice of Objection?
A Notice of Objection is a document filed by a person to object to the making of a subpoena.
A Notice of Objection can be filed by:
If 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
When do I get to see the documents?
If the date listed in the subpoena for the production of documents has passed, and no one has objected to the subpoena, you can ask to see the documents.
To do this, you must fill out and file a Notice of Request to Inspect.
You can get a blank form from the:
Once you have completed your form, you can file it:
You don’t have to pay a fee.
Instructions: Instructions for filling out a Notice of Request to Inspect
Sample: Notice of Request to Inspect
You should get
if you need help filling out this form.
If you have also requested the attendance of a person at court, you cannot use this form. Instead, you will need to attend court and ask the Judge or Registrar to allow you to inspect the documents.
For more information about subpoenas, see General federal law: Subpoenas on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.