Legal Dictionary

subpoena duces tecum

Definition of subpoena duces tecum


subpoena duces tecum (plural subpoenas duces tecum)

  1. (law) A writ requiring someone to appear in court to give testimony, and to bring something (usually documents) to accompany that testimony.

Further reading

In the United States legal system, a subpoena duces tecum (Latin for "bring with you under penalty of punishment") is specific form of a subpoena (summons, literally "under punishment") issued by a court ordering the parties named to appear and produce tangible evidence (documents or otherwise) for use at a hearing or trial.

It is similar to subpoena ad testificandum (writ of summons to testify orally) but it includes clauses to bring in hand books, papers, etc. for the court.

The terms used vary between jurisdictions. The words "subpoena duces tecum" appear to be used exclusively by various jurisdictions within the United States. In jurisdictions in the United States that have reduced the use of foreign words and phrases in court terminology, this type of subpoena is also called a "subpoena for production of evidence."

In England and Wales, a subpoena has been known as a "Witness Summons" since the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

In most jurisdictions, a subpoena usually has to be served personally.


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