New York City Civil Court
Instructions for Service of Subpoena

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. This is a publication of the Civil Court of the City of New York.  This document bears the designation "CIV-GP-63 (Revised 6/92)"  and was scanned by SBR and posted on this web page to assist litigants who may be representing themselves (e.g. business owners in small claims court) or for those individuals using the legal system who may not understand some of  the Court rules such as the requirements for serving a subpoena. This information is available free from the New York City Civil Court Clerk's Office.  Please check with your local Court to make sure you have a copy of the latest rules, and to make sure that these rules apply to you or your case. If you have any questions,  please consult an attorney. (SBR does not provide legal advice nor do we recommend any attorneys).  Please ask friends or colleagues for any recommendations as to attorneys who have good client relationships. SBR claims no copyright to this publication, which was created, published and distributed free by the State of  New York, Unified Court System.

Subpoenae available There are three kinds of Subpoena:

  • Subpoena to Testify. (Ad Testificandum). Requires a person to come to the Court to testify as a witness. 

  • Subpoena for Records. (Duces Tecum). Requires documents,  papers,  writing, etc. to be brought to the Court.
  • Information Subpoena. Requires that information be provided to the person requesting it.

Methods of Service A Subpoena to Testify or a Subpoena for Records is generally served on an individual* by personal (in hand) delivery.  [For service on a partnership or on a corporation, see the (last) page.] If the individual is not available, under certain circumstances it may be appropriate to use an alternate method of service such as “Substituted Service” or “Conspicuous Service."   “Substituted Service” is the personal service of the Subpoena on someone other than the person who is being subpoenaed (the witness) at the actual place of business or place of residence of the witness. The server must then mail a copy of the Subpoena to the witness by first class mail to the actual place of business or place of residence of the witness. Mark the envelope “Personal and Confidential.’ “Conspicuous Service” is the service of the Subpoena by leaving it at the residence or place of business of the witness. Prior to leaving the Subpoena, the server must make at least two attempts. If no one is found on either attempt, on the third try the Subpoena may be affixed to the door with adhesive tape, and a copy must be mailed to the residence of the witness by first class mail. Mark the envelope “Personal and Confidential." An Information Subpoena is generally served by Certified or Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested, or it may alternatively be served by personal delivery or by using the “Substituted Service” or “Conspicuous Service” method.

Who May Serve a Subpoena Anyone NOT A PARTY to the action, who is over the age of 18 and not a Police Officer, may serve the Subpoena. 

Proof of Service The person who serves the Subpoena to Testify or the Subpoena for Records must fill out an Affidavit of Service and have it notarized. 

Procedure The person who is going to serve the Subpoena must:

  • Find the person to be served. 
  • Show that person the original Subpoena. 
  • Give that person a copy of the Subpoena. 
  • Fill out the Affidavit of Service on back of the original. 
  • Retain the Affidavit of Service for further procedures if the person fails to comply with the Subpoena.

For an Information Subpoena follow the above procedure, or 

  • Place a copy of the Subpoena, together with an original and copy of the questions to be answered and fifty cents ($0.50)*[A person served with an Information Subpoena must be paid a fee of fifty cents ($0.50). However, no fee need be paid to a Judgment Debtor for responding to an Information an envelope addressed to the witness.] 
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for use by the witness returning the answered questions to you. 
  • Mail the envelope to the witness by Certified or Registered Mail, Return Receipt Requested.

Fees for Service When served with a Subpoena to Testify or a Subpoena for Records,  the witness must be paid a witness fee of $15.00 per day.  If the witness is served outside the City of New York s/he shall also be paid 23 cents per mile to the place of attendance, from the place where s/he was served, and return. The fee must be paid a reasonable amount of time before the scheduled date. Nonpayment of the witness fee voids the duty to appear. 

Location A Subpoena from the Civil Court of the City of New York may be served only within the City of New York or in Nassau County or Westchester County. Service anywhere else in New York State may only be done if permitted by a Judge. 

RestrictionsGeneral A Subpoena may not be served on a Sunday. A City or State agency or a public library may be subpoenaed only by order of the court. Time Any witness must be served a “reasonable” amount of time prior to the date of appearance.  It is suggested that service be at least 5 days before the date of the hearing. A City or State agency or a public library must be served at least 24 hours prior to the time of appearance.

* Service on a Partnership or Corporation  A Partnership may be served by delivering the Subpoena to any of the partners. A Corporation may be served by delivering the Subpoena to an officer, director, managing or general agent, or cashier or assistant cashier or to any other agent authorized by appointment or by law to receive service. In this context “cashier” normally means “treasurer” of the corporation, not one who operates a cash register.


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