Subpoenas are a legal document that asks a person, who is not a party to the proceeding, to attend a hearing and give evidence or produce documents for evidence in the case.

Typically, subpoenas are issued to doctors, accountants and business owners, but they can be served to individuals or an organisation.

Types of subpoenas

There are two types of subpoenas that the Court may issue. Each has a different function:

A 42A Subpoena form is used where a trial date has been set. It can:

  • require someone to give evidence at the trial
  • require someone to produce documents at the trial
  • require someone to give evidence at trial and also to produce documents at the trial.

A ‘42AA Subpoena for Production to Prothonotary’ form is used when documents are to be inspected before a trial date is set. It can:

  • require someone to produce documents to the Prothonotary for inspection.

Every subpoena to produce documents must have a ‘form 42B’ attached to the front of each copy, and be addressed to one person or one company under the Supreme Court Rules.

Inspecting a subpoena

To inspect a subpoena:

  • complete the Checklist for Practitioners – Inspecting Subpoenaed Documents.
  • contact the Registry to arrange an appointment to inspect a subpoenaed document

Issuing a subpoena

Follow the subpoena checklist before issuing a subpoena:

  1. Three copies of each subpoena are required: for service, your records and the court file.
  2. If your subpoena requests the production of documents, a ‘42B Notice to Addressee and Declaration’ form must be stapled to the front of each subpoena copy.
  3. The prescribed fee – payable for each subpoena issued.
    Once you’ve completed the checklist then you can:
    file the documents online
    • post your copies and cheque to the Court
    • bring them in to the registry for issuing on the spot

Dates for service

On the ‘42A Subpoena’ form and ‘42AA Subpoena for Production to Prothonotary’ form, you will need to nominate:

  • a last date for service
  • a date for production or attendance.

For subpoenas being served in Victoria, the last date for service of a subpoena should be no less than one week before the date on which the addressee is required to comply.

For subpoenas being served in other states of Australia, the last date for service of a subpoena should be no less than two weeks before the date on which the addressee is required to comply.

Dates for production and attendance

The date for production and attendance for a ‘42A Subpoena’ form is the date of the trial.

The date for production and attendance for a ‘42AA Subpoena for Production to the Prothonotary’ form is one week after the date for service when serving in Victoria, and two weeks after the last date for service when serving interstate.

For information see rule 42.03(6) of the Supreme Court Rules year.

What do I do if I have been served with a subpoena?

The notes section at the back of your subpoena will provide information on what to do if you have been served with a subpoena.

If you are having trouble complying with the subpoena please contact the party who issued it. Their contact details will be located on the front of the subpoena.

For all other enquires, please contact the Subpoenaed Documents Coordinator at the Registry on 03 9603 9229 or by email to subpoenas@supremecourt.vic.gov.au

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