Serving A Magistrates Witness Summons

What’s it for?

Magistrates Court Process official calling of a witness to the Magistrates Court Process issued by the prosecution or the defence of a court case.

When you are served with a witness summons it will either be handed it in person, or it will be delivered to you at home. A professional process server aims to ensure personal service, to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that the summons has been received.

How to obtain a witness summons

To obtain a witness summons, you need to send two completed witness summonses to the court where the hearing is to be held or proceeding. You should complete form N20, which can be obtained directly from the court or via the Court Service’s website.

Each witness whose attendance at court is requested requires a separate witness summons. If the court is to arrange service on the witness, the party seeking the witness summons should also send an amount of money to the court to be paid or offered to the witness.

The witness summons will usually detail:

  • That the recipient will have to be at court on the day of the trial
  • Definitely give evidence
  • Receive a penalty if they don’t turn up

In some cases:

  • The recipient of a witness summons will be offered money to cover transport to and from court
  • Offered compensation to cover the time spent at court
  • The witness will be required to produce documents as evidence rather than being present

The ‘Witness Charter’ explains how you can expect to be treated if you are asked to give evidence in a criminal court. You can read the ‘Witness Charter’ on GOV.UK.

Need more information on serving a witness summons? Contact us.

Please note: The above is not meant to constitute legal advice. The law changes regularly and as such we recommend speaking to a legal professional for clarification.