If the other side does not show up or just his or her lawyer appears, the judge may still be able to make the orders you request based on information that the court receives from other sources, including information that you provide. But since the other party is not present, the judge cannot make him or her testify nor consider documents that may only be in that party’s possession.
Sometimes, you may want the other party in your case to be present in court. For example, you may want the other party to testify in front of the judge or you may want him or her to bring certain documents to court because they will help you prove your case or give you information you or the judge will need. If this is the case, you may need to make sure that the other party in your case actually comes to court, so that the judge can order him to testify or produce the documents you need.
To make sure the other party has to come to court and/or bring certain documents, you have 3 main options. Click on any of them to learn more.
A “Notice to Attend” (also known as a “Notice in Lieu of Subpoena”) is a written notice that requires the other party to attend the court hearing (or trial). It also tells the party when and where the hearing or trial will take place.
The Notice to Attend has the same effect as a subpoena, but is easier to complete. For example, the notice does not have to be issued by the court before it is served. So, you can avoid an extra trip to the courthouse to have the clerk file or process it. (You can just file it with the court after it is served. See the instructions below to understand the process.) Also, the notice to attend can usually be served by mail on the other party’s lawyer (or on the other party without an lawyer), whereas a subpoena has to be served in person. Read more about situations when the Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial may help you.
This is another type of notice that you can complete and serve if you want the other party to testify at the hearing or trial AND bring books, documents, electronically-stored information, or other things that you need to support your case. This notice includes a list of those items that the other party has in her or her possession that he or she must bring on the court date. Read more about situations when the Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial may help you.
A subpoena is a court order that requires a party (or a witness who is not a party) to come to court to testify. It can also require the person to bring certain papers to the court hearing or trial.
You may subpoena the other party or a non-party witness to the hearing if:
Most subpoenas are used to require a person who is not already a party in the case to attend the hearing or bring documents. If the person is already a party in the case, you do not have to complete a subpoena. Instead, you can use a Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial.
Notices to Attend a Hearing or Trial (including a request to bring documents) are often not necessary, but there are some some situations in which they can be really helpful for your case. To avoid going through the additional paperwork of a Notice to Attend, talk to your self-help center or a lawyer to find out if a Notice to Attend makes sense for the orders you want the court to make.
Here are some examples when a Notice to Attend may be a good idea:
Note:If you have received a Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial and want to object, click to learn how.
These instructions apply to both types of notices:
1. Prepare a Notice to Attend.
2. Make 3 copies of the Notice to Attend.
Keep the original notice and one copy for yourself. Use one copy to serve on the other party. You may also need the third copy for the court.
3. Serve the Notice.
Someone 18 or older not involved in the case must mail or personally deliver a copy of the Notice to Attend to the other party’s lawyer (or to the other party, if he or she does not have a lawyer).
4. Have the server fill out a proof of service.
The person who served the notice has to fill out a proof of service saying when and how they served the notice on the other party’s lawyer (or on the other party without an lawyer). The server can use a:
5. File a copy of the Notice to Attend and Proof of Service before the hearing (or take them with you on the day of the hearing).
Filing a copy with the court before the hearing is not required, but it can be helpful if the other party files written objections.
6. Go to your hearing.
Take at least one copy of all of your documents, including the Request for Order, Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial and Proofs of Service.
Keep in mind
If you have been served with a Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial or a Notice to Attend Hearing or Trial and Bring Documents, you have the right to object to the notice.
To object, you must act quickly. You must complete these steps within 5 days of being served with the Notice to Attend (or another time the court may have ordered on the Notice to Attend documents):
1. Write out your objections to the Notice to Attend on pleading paper. You can use this template to object.
2. Make 2 copies of your written objection (all pages).
3. Serve your objection.
Have someone 18 or older mail or hand-deliver a copy [not the original!] of your objections to the other party.The person who served the notice has to fill out a proof of service saying when and how they served your written objections on the other party’s lawyer (or on the other party without an lawyer). The server can use a:
4. File your original and a copy of your objections, together with a completed Proof of Service and copies, at the court’s clerk’s office. They will file-stamp your copy of the objections and of the Proof of Service and return to you.
5. It is possible that before your court the other side may contact you to try to reach an agreement. If you do not reach an agreement, the other side may file more documents asking the court to order you to appear or to bring the documents in question. You will again have an opportunity to object. Ultimately, the judge will make the decision about whether to order you to go to court and/or bring the documents in question.
Note: These instructions only apply when you are subpoenaing a party or a non-party witness to testify and/or bring documents to court. They do not apply to subpoenas for consumer records. If you want to object to a subpoena, click to learn how. If you just want to subpoena business records (like bank records or employment records) related to the other person, click to learn about subpoenas for business records.
1. Fill out your Subpoena.
Fill out a Civil Subpoena (Form SUBP-001). Write in the full and correct name of the other party or witness.
If you also want him or her to bring papers to the hearing (or trial), use the Civil Supoena (Duces Tecum) (Form SUBP-002) and describe exactly what papers they must to bring to the hearing (or trial).
2. Take the Subpoena to the clerk to have it issued.
The clerk will look at the Subpoena and may ask you a few questions. The clerk will then issue, sign and stamp your Subpoena "Filed.”
3. Make copies of your filed Subpoena.
Make at least 2 copies of the Subpoena. One for you and another for the other party or witness.
4. Serve the Subpoena.
Serve a copy of the Civil Subpoena on the person you want to come to court. It must be served within a “reasonable time” in order for the other person to be able to travel to the hearing (or trial).
Anyone, even you, can serve your Subpoena, but this must be done IN PERSON (not by mail).
5. Fill out Page 3 of the original Civil Subpoena.
Have the person who served the Subpoena fill out the page and sign at the bottom of page 3.
6. Return the Subpoena to the clerk before your hearing (or trial).
Keep in mind
If you have been served with a Subpoena, and you want to object to it, you must act reasonably quickly. Since you are a party to the case, you must file a Request to Quash the Subpoena. You can use the Request for Order (Form FL-300).
Follow these steps:
Have someone 18 or older mail or hand-deliver a copy [not the original!] of your Request to the other party or his or her attorney.The person who served the notice has to fill out a proof of service saying when and how they served your Request on the other party’s lawyer (or on the other party without an lawyer). The server can use a:
This type of subpoena can be used to get copies of documents directly from a bank (like checking or savings account statements and loans under a person’s name), a credit card company, or an employer. In some situations, you may want to use this kind of subpoena if the other party does not go to the hearing or give his or her financial documents.
This kind of subpoena tells the custodian of records (the person at the bank or other institution in charge of the records) to provide copies of the business records at the time of a:
Before you can ask for these consumer or employee records, the other party must get notice and an opportunity to object (the person objecting can use the form Notice to Consumer or Employee and Objection (Form SUBP-025).
The procedure for this type of subpoena can be complicated. Talk to a lawyer for help.