What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a court order telling someone to:
  1. appear at a court hearing
  2. attend a deposition, or
  3. 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 sample subpoena forms, 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 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:
  1. Case number (also called a court file number)
  2. Names of parties in the case
  3. Name of person requesting subpoena(s) with their phone number
  4. Purpose of the subpoena:
  • witness to appear at hearing/trial or deposition with the date and time
  • production of documents
  1. A copy of the Notice of Taking Deposition and proof of service on all parties in the case
  2. Name of judge assigned to the case (if known)
  3. Number of subpoenas you need
  4. Subpoena fee (If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you might qualify for a fee waiver.)

Can I serve a subpoena myself?

Subpoenas must be served personally by a disinterested third party (any payment to this party is your responsibility).  You may not serve a subpoena yourself.