If documents, or a person (other than the couple), is seen by either spouse as being relevant and important for the court to consider, that information can be compelled to be presented to the court by way of subpoena. Here are some tips:
Subpoenas are frequently issued and it is important to know some of the basic rules that apply.
A subpoena seeking the production of documents must identify the document to be produced and the time and place for production. In the Family Court, there is no limit on the number of subpoenas that can be issued, except in the hearing of an “Application in a Case” (an interim hearing) where it is limited to 3. In the Federal Circuit Court, each party is limited to issuing a maximum of 5 subpoenas. If a party seeks to issue more than 5, they must obtain court approval.
A subpoena requiring the attendance at court of a person must (in addition to the above) include a copy of the prescribed court brochure.
A party is also required to pay the named person “conduct monies”, which must be an amount sufficient to meet the “reasonable expense of complying with the subpoena.” In both the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court, this must be at least $25.00.
The grounds for objection to a subpoena include:
- Subpoena not being issued for a genuine purpose;
- It has been used for discovery against a 3rd party;
- The subpoena is oppressive; or
- The subpoena has been issued as a “mere fishing expedition”.
To avoid confusion and to be clear on your rights speak with one of our experienced family lawyers. Call us on (07) 3221 4300 to organise a no-obligation initial appointment at a fixed-cost. We will be happy to assist you in person, over the phone or by Skype.