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What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a court order telling someone to:
- appear at a court hearing
- attend a deposition, or
- produce documents or records
Subpoenas in civil cases are issued under Rule 45 of the MN Rules of Civil Procedure. There must be an existing case where a hearing, trial or deposition is scheduled before a subpoena can be issued. The court publishes a sample subpoena form, but it must be signed by a Court Administrator or an attorney before it can be used in a case.
NOTE: If you are representing yourself in a criminal case and want a subpoena, you should talk with a lawyer.
How do you get a subpoena?
Only a Court Administrator or an attorney can issue a subpoena. If you are representing yourself (pro se) and you want to get a subpoena, talk to the Court Administrator where your case is filed.
Each court has its own steps to get a subpoena. You can get a subpoena in person at the courthouse or sometimes by mail. There is a fee to get a subpoena.
Usually, you will need the following information:
- Court file number
- Names of parties in the case
- Name of person requesting subpoena(s) with their phone number
- Purpose of the subpoena:
- witness to appear at hearing/trial or deposition with the date and time
- production of documents
- A copy of the Notice of Taking Deposition and proof of service on all parties in the case
- Name of judge assigned to the case (if known)
- Number of subpoenas you need
- Subpoena fee (If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you might qualify for a fee waiver.)
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