Help, I’ve Received a Witness Summons Order to Attend Court
Throughout our lives, we may have to attend court for jury duty or even as a witness. Whilst many people may never have to deal with these legal ordeals, it is prudent to be prepared and understand exactly what is involved in the process nonetheless.
This article aims to provide useful information on exactly what a witness summons is, and what you must do if you receive one.
What is a Witness Summons?
During a court case, witnesses are usually called to either build a case against the accused or defend them. Additionally, individuals may be called to give a character reference (i.e. to simply answer generic questions about a person involved in the trial). A witness summons is a legal document that is issued to notify an individual that they must attend court (as a witness) and give evidence (this is different to a witness warning letter, as the latter is a simple notification that you may have to give evidence in court).
Why You May be Summoned as a Witness in Court?
There are several reasons why you may receive a witness summons and have to attend court:
1. You have given a police statement relating to an incident or crime.
2. You have been the victim of a crime.
3. You were involved in a crime alongside the accused (or are the main suspect).
4. You know the accused or one of the victims.
What To Do When You Receive A Witness Summons
Once you have received a witness summons you should act immediately. The first thing you should do is contact your place of work and inform them you will have to attend court. They should be aware that you may be given little notice of the court date, and that you will have to take time off work. Finally, they should also be aware that you will receive a penalty if you do not attend – this is a legal obligation and not something that can be avoided or ignored.
You should also do the following:
– Seek legal advice regarding covering travel expenses and compensation.- Consider why you have been summoned and think about what questions you may be asked.
Finally, it is important to remember that under no circumstances should you by intimidated or threatened regarding the court case – if you receive any unsavoury communications at all you should contact the police or your witness care officer.
The main points regarding a witness summons are summarised below:
– A witness summons requires you to give evidence in court.
– A witness summons is mandatory and failure to comply will result in a penalty.
– You must notify your employer ASAP.
– You should seek legal advice if you are unsure of any of the details given.
*Our content is not designed to constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice we always recommend contacting a qualified legal professional and are happy to provide recommendations*