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When you need to summon a witness to testify

As a party in a court case, if you are unsure whether a witness is willing to turn up for a court proceeding to give evidence (testify), you may apply for an order requiring the witness to attend court on a specified date and time.

The application depends on the type of case:

Civil proceedings

Subpoena to testify.

Criminal proceedings

Summons to a Witness.

Family proceedings

Note: If you have received a subpoena or Summons to a Witness, find out more about being a witness and what you need to do.

For civil cases and certain family cases, there are also other types of subpoenas requiring a witness to provide evidence in different ways. There are 3 types of subpoenas:
  • Requiring the witness to attend court to give oral evidence (testify).
  • Requiring the person to produce documents. A person served with a subpoena to produce documents shall sufficiently comply if he enables the documents to be produced without attending court personally.
  • Requiring the witness to both testify and produce documents. (If the witness does not attend court, their affidavits that you have submitted as evidence may be rejected by the court.)

How to apply for a subpoena or summons

The process to apply depends on the type of case:

You will need to make 2 visits to the State Courts Central Registry (Level 2, State Courts) during the operating hours.

1. Visit the State Courts for the application

You need to do all of the following:

  • Bring your identification card (NRIC or FIN) to the State Courts Central Registry
  • Fill in the Application for Issue of Summons to a Witness form.
  • application_for_issue_of_summons_to_a_witness_state_courts_criminal_cases
    • This should include the witness' name and address. Explain why you need the witness to attend court in the Relevance of Witness to Case section.
  • Pay $20 for each Summons to a Witness issued.

The court will process your application and inform you (through a phone call) whether your application is approved or rejected.

Note: If the hearing is scheduled within the next 7 days, you will need to confirm that you have informed the witness, and that the witness is agreeable to attend court if summoned.

2. (If approved) Visit the State Courts for the service of the summons

If your application is approved, the court will ask you to return to the Central Registry to meet a court process server. You will then serve the summons personally on the witness together with the process server. Personal service means handing the document to the witness in person.

Note: You are required to bear the process server's transportation costs, from and to the State Courts, to carry out the service.

If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer can write in to the Registrar of the Supreme Court via eLitigation to request for a Summons to a Witness to be issued.

If you are not represented by a lawyer, you can file the request at the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau in person.

The request should include the following details:

  • Name and address of the witness.
  • Dates when the witness is required in court.

No fees are involved. The court will follow up with your request and inform you of the next steps.

Follow these steps to apply for a subpoena.

1. File the subpoena via eLitigation

File a subpoena (Form 67, Rules of Court) via eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to submit your application in person.

The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of the outcome of your application. If your application is accepted, you will need to return to the Service Bureau to collect the subpoena issued by the court.

2. Serve the subpoena

How you serve the subpoena depends on which court your case is in:

State Courts cases

You will need to serve the subpoena personally on the witness together with a court process server. Personal service means handing the document to the witness in person.

Visit the State Courts Central Registry (Level 2, State Courts) to make an appointment with a court process server. Bring your identification card (NRIC or FIN) and 2 copies of the subpoena issued by the court.

You will be given a date to return to the Central Registry to meet a court process server and serve the subpoena on the witness.

Supreme Court cases

Unless the court otherwise requires, you will need to serve the subpoena on the witness personally within 12 weeks after the date of issue of the subpoena. Personal service means handing the document to the witness in person.

A subpoena shall not be served on any person outside of Singapore.

Estimated fees

If you need an urgent subpoena to be issued less than 3 days before a trial, there are additional fees.

The estimated fees for issuing a subpoena depend on where the case is heard:

Where the case is heard

Estimated fee

State Courts (Magistrates' Courts or District Courts)

  • $10
  • (Urgent subpoena: $20)

Supreme Court (for claims not exceeding $1 million)

  • $50
  • (Urgent subpoena: $100)

Supreme Court (for claims exceeding $1 million)

  • $100
  • (Urgent subpoena: $200)

For Family Justice Courts (FJC) cases, how you apply depends on the type of case:

Cases in iFAMS

For cases in the Integrated Family Management System (iFAMS), you may make a request during a court mention, or file an application online via iFAMS. You will need to pay $1 for each summon issued by the court.

Cases in the Youth Courts or under Part VII or VIII or the Women’s Charter in the Family Courts

For most cases in the Youth Courts and cases under Part VII or VIII or the Women’s Charter in the Family Courts, you may put up a request in court to summon a witness. The court will follow up with your request and inform you of the next steps.

Other cases in the FJC

For other cases in the FJC, follow these steps to apply for a subpoena through eLitigation.

1. File the subpoena via eLitigation

Prepare a subpoena according to Form 123 of the FJC Practice Directions and file it via eLitigation. If you are not represented by a lawyer, visit the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau to submit your application in person.

The Service Bureau will notify you via email or SMS of the outcome of your application. If your application is accepted, you will need to return to the Service Bureau to collect the subpoena issued by the court.

2. Serve the subpoena

You need to serve the subpoena personally on the witness within 12 weeks from the date the subpoena is issued by the court. Personal service means handing the document to the witness in person.

Estimated fees

If you need an urgent subpoena to be issued less than 3 days before a trial, there are additional fees.

The estimated fees for issuing a subpoena depend on where the case is heard:

Where the case is heard

Estimated fee

Family Courts

  • $10
  • (Urgent subpoena: $20)

Family Courts (for proceedings under Part X of the Women's Charter, which includes divorce)

  • $7
  • (Urgent subpoena: $14)

Family Division of High Court (for claims not exceeding $1 million)

  • $50
  • (Urgent subpoena: $100)

Family Division of High Court (for claims exceeding $1 million)

  • $100
  • (Urgent subpoena: $200)

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