Summons and subpoenas

As a victim of crime, you may be called upon to be a witness in court.

If you are called as a witness in a court case you will be sent a summons or subpoena and you must go to court.

Keep your summons and subpoena letter and a copy of your police statement safe – you will need them when you go to court.

Support is available for people who are witnesses at court. 

If you are called as a witness you will receive a letter called a summons or a subpoena, depending on which type of court your case is going to be heard in.

A summons is for a case in the Magistrates’ Court, while a subpoena is sent to witnesses for cases in the County or Supreme Courts.

The letter will include:

  • where you need to go, and
  • when you need to be there.

Make sure you keep this letter because you will need to take it with you when you go to be a witness at court.  

What should I do if I get a summons or subpoena?

If you receive a summons or subpoena, you must go to court to give evidence.

Understandably, some people can be nervous or worried about going to court as a witness, but your evidence is important for the case.

Support is available, and you can ask any questions you might have.

The Victims Assistance Program can explain how courts work and what to expect, as well as help you prepare for going to court. Call the Victims of Crime Helpline on 1800 819 817.

If your case is being heard in the County or Supreme Court, you can also contact the Victims and Witness Assistance Service on 1800 641 927 for information.

Check that you have your police statement

When you get your summons or subpoena, check that you also have a copy of the statement you gave police during the investigation, because you will also need it for court. If you cannot find it, you can contact the police officer in charge of the investigation to get a copy.

It is also important to recheck times and dates for the court case, because these can change.

Read more about how you can do this and get more information about the court case.

You can also learn more about:

What happens if I do not get a summons or subpoena?

If you do not get a summons or a subpoena, you do not have to go to court, but you can do so.

If you want to go, let the police officer in charge of the case know as soon as possible. They can let you know when the case will start.