Subpoenas are legal documents that compel an individual to attend the trial of the proceeding to give evidence or to produce documents for evidence in the case.

Typically, subpoenas are issued to doctors, accountants and business owners, but they can also be served on individuals or organisations.

 

Types of subpoenas

There are four types of civil subpoenas that the Court may issue. Each has a different function, specifically:

  • A Form 42A 'subpoena to attend to give evidence' shall compel a person to attend to give evidence at the trial of a proceeding
  • A Form 42B 'subpoena to produce' shall compel a person to produce documents at the trial of a proceeding
  • A Form 42C 'subpoena to attend to give evidence and to produce' shall compel a person to give evidence and produce documents at the trial of a proceeding
  • A Form 42AA 'subpoena for production to the Prothonotary' may be used as an alternative to Form 42B, whereby the issuing party wishes to inspect subpoenaed records prior to the trial of the proceeding. This form shall compel a person to produce documents to the Prothonotary for inspection by the parties.

For further information on Form 42A, 42B and 42C subpoenas, refer to Order 42 of the Supreme Court Rules.

For further information on Form 42AA subpoenas, refer to Order 42A of the Supreme Court Rules.

 

Inspecting subpoenaed documents

Subpoenaed documents produced to the Prothonotary may be inspected by appointment only. Please note that there is a prescribed fee to inspect subpoenaed records, payable per appointment.

To make an appointment, please contact the Subpoenaed Documents Coordinator at the Principal Registry on 03 9603 9229 or by email to subpoenas@supremecourt.vic.gov.au (External link)

 

Issuing a subpoena

If you are filing subpoenas in hard copy form, at least three copies are required: that is, one for service, one for your records and one for the court file.

A prescribed fee is payable for each subpoena issued.

A subpoena may be filed by:

 

Dates for service and production

On a subpoena, you will need to nominate:

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

Dates for Service

For subpoenas being served in Victoria, the last date for service of a subpoena should be no less than five business days (1 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 fourteen days (two weeks) before the date on which the addressee is required to comply.

Dates for production and/or attendance.

When issuing a Form 42A, 42B or 42C subpoena, the date for production and/or attendance shall be the first day of trial unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

When issuing a Form 42AA subpoena, the date for production of documents shall be five business days (one week) after the date for service when serving in Victoria or fourteen days (two weeks) after the last date for service when serving interstate. The date for production shall also fall on a day that the office of the Court is open (that is, the registry).

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 (External link)