7 Key Steps to Successfully Issuing a Subpoena

An Overview

The realm of legal processes is vast and complex, with issuing a subpoena being one of the most significant aspects. The importance of a subpoena, a compelling legal tool used by courts and lawyers to demand documents or summon individuals for testimony, is monumental. It often holds the key to unveiling vital evidence in legal matters.

issuing a subpoena

What Exactly is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is essentially a legal instrument issued by a court upon the request of a party involved in litigation. It commands an individual or institution to either submit specific documents (subpoena duces tecum) or appear in court for testimony (subpoena ad testificandum). Non-adherence to a subpoena can result in legal consequences, thus highlighting its authority and significance.

When Should One Issue a Subpoena?

A subpoena becomes necessary when vital information for a case is elusive or when a person’s testimony could significantly influence the trial’s outcome. It is crucial to ensure that the information sought is pertinent, substantial, and not confidential before issuing a subpoena.

The Process of Issuing a Subpoena

1. Recognize the Need for a Subpoena

Determining the necessity for a subpoena is the first step. This involves evaluating if the required information is vital for the case and whether it can be obtained exclusively through a subpoena.

2. Draft the Subpoena

The subsequent step involves crafting the subpoena. It should unambiguously state the issuing court’s name, the legal proceeding’s title, and the specific command, whether it is to appear in court or to produce documents. Precision and clarity are essential at this stage.

3. Approval of the Subpoena

Following the drafting phase, the subpoena requires approval from either a court clerk or attorney, depending on jurisdictional rules. They ensure that the subpoena complies with all relevant regulations and laws.

4. Deliver the Subpoena

The delivery of the subpoena to the addressed individual or entity constitutes serving. This task should be carried out by an individual who isn’t involved in the case and is above 18 years of age. The delivery method may vary based on local regulations.

5. Record the Service of Subpoena

The individual serving the subpoena is also responsible for furnishing proof of service, typically in the form of an affidavit or service certificate. This document confirms that the subpoena was duly delivered.

6. Follow Up on the Subpoena

In cases where there are objections or non-compliance with the subpoena, follow-up actions may be necessary. Such situations might necessitate court intervention.

Challenges in Issuing a Subpoena

The process of issuing a subpoena isn’t without its hurdles. Resistance or refusal to comply from the subpoenaed party is common. Additionally, jurisdictional issues might arise if the subpoenaed party resides outside the jurisdiction of the issuing court.


The process of issuing a subpoena is integral to the legal system, ensuring access to crucial evidence and testimony and fostering fair and thorough legal proceedings. Comprehending this process, its significance, and the challenges associated with it is vital for anyone involved in a legal dispute.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment