Order a witness to appear in court

You can use a subpoena to order a witness to come to court for a trial or hearing

Before you start

If there is a witness, who is not a party in the case, you need to attend to your trial or hearing, you may use a subpoena to order that person to come to court.

It is generally a good idea to subpoena any important witness in your case. The judge may not wait for a witness who has not been subpoenaed to show up before making a decision.

If the person doesn't come to court, they can be held in contempt of court and ordered to pay up to $500 in fines. 

You may have to pay witnesses

Witnesses can ask for $35 a day and $0.20 per mile each way. If they ask to be paid before the court date, you must pay them. Otherwise they don't have to come to court.

Bring money the day of court as well, even if they haven't asked to be paid. Sometimes they may ask that day.

How to use a subpoena

  • Take a blank subpoena to court

    a member of the public showing documents to a court clerk

    Take a blank Civil Subpoena for Personal Appearance at Trial or Hearing (form SUBP-001) to your court clerk's office.

    The clerk will issue the subpoena. This means the clerk signs and stamps the subpoena before you fill it out. 

    Bring a separate one for each person, business, or agency you want to subpoena.

    A few courts post issued subpoenas online. The subpoena will have a clerk's signature and stamp on them. Check on their website or call and ask if they have them available online.
  • Fill out your subpoena

    • Complete the case information in the caption.
    • Just below the caption, write the name, address and phone number of the witness you want ordered to appear.
    • In section 1, complete the information about your trial or hearing date.
    • In section 2, write in your name and phone number.
    • The date, name, and signature will have already been completed by the court.
  • Make copies

    Make at least 2 copies of your Subpoena form. One for you and another for the person you need to subpoena.

    Keep the original and bring it with you to court.

  • Deliver the subpoena

    illustration of hading papers to another person

    Hand deliver ("serve") a copy (not the original) of the Subpoena form to the person or business you are subpoenaing.

    Unlike the typical process for serving court papers, anyone - even you - can serve your Subpoena. But the Subpoena must be served in person by someone 18 or older. It can't be served by mail. 

  • Fill out the Proof of Service

    Fill out page 2 of the original Subpoena form.

    Then have the person who delivered the Subpoena sign at the bottom-left of page 2.

    Ignore the signature line on the right-hand side. This is only used if a sheriff or marshal serves the subpoena.

  • Bring the subpoena to the trial or hearing

    Bring the original Subpoena form to your trial or hearing.

    If your witness does not show up, present a copy of your Subpoena to the judge. The judge may ask you whether you want a new court date so you can have the witness available at you trial or hearing.

Once you've completed and served the subpoena, you can expect the witness to appear at your trial or hearing. 



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