Arranging for witnesses to give evidence

If you want someone to appear as a witness in support of your case, you can apply to the Tribunal or Chairperson for a witness summons. This means the person must attend the Tribunal and give evidence at your hearing.

The summons includes information like where and when they must attend; the type of documents or records they must bring with them to show the Tribunal; the amount of allowance and travel expenses they’ll be paid for attending; and the penalty if they don’t attend.

How do I apply for a witness to be summoned?

Before the Tribunal will issue a summons, it must be satisfied that your witness can give relevant evidence. For the Tribunal to be able to decide this, you must send the Tribunal a written application from yourself and a signed statement of evidence from the person you want to be a witness.

If your witness doesn’t want to or can’t make a signed statement, you must give (‘file’) the Tribunal a ‘will say’ statement of evidence. This is a statement that is an accurate record of what the witness will say in evidence (it’s not a statement of what you wish they would say).

Giving (serving) the summons to the witness

Once the Tribunal has issued the summons, a Tribunal case manager will give it to you. It’s then your responsibility to deliver the summons to your witness - you can deliver it in person at least 24 hours before the witness must be at the hearing, or you can post it to the witness as a registered letter at least 10 days before the witness must be at the hearing.

Paying the witness an appropriate fee and allowance

As the person requesting the witness to attend the hearing, you’re liable to pay them a witness fee, allowance and travel expenses. To find out how much you’re liable to pay, see:

Witnesses and Interpreters Fees Regulations 1974(external link)

What happens if the witness is summoned but refuses to be a witness?

It’s an offence if a witness is summoned and doesn’t attend the hearing, or attends but doesn’t bring the documents or records requested in the summons. The witness can be fined $1500 for this offence.

What are the relevant legal provisions?

The relevant legal provisions can be found in sections 109 and 111 of the Human Rights Act 1993(external link), and in the Witnesses and Interpreters Fees Regulations 1974(external link) Schedule.