What is a summons?

A summons is a legal notice issued by the AAT which requires a person to:

  • attend and give evidence to the AAT
  • give us documents relating to a review, or
  • do both of these things. 

Who can request a summons?

Any party to a review before the AAT can ask us to issue a summons. We will decide whether the summons should be issued.

We can also decide to a issue a summons ourselves if we think that information or documents are required. 


Issuing a summons

You can ask us to issue a summons by sending us a summons form. This should be done as early as possible in the review.

There are 3 different types of summons forms depending on what you want the person to do:

A summons requiring a person to give evidence must be addressed to an individual.

A summons to produce documents must be addressed to a legal entity, usually an individual, a government department or agency, or a corporation. A summons to an entity other than an individual should be addressed to ‘The Proper Officer'.

If we issue a summons at your request, you must give the summons to the person named in the summons. Look at sections 12 and 17 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Regulation 2015 for more information about how to do this.


Fees and allowances associated with a summons

If you ask us to issue a summons you are required to pay certain expenses for the person to comply with the summons. If we decide to issue a summons without a request from a party we will pay the expenses.

Fees or allowances are not paid to a person who is a party to the review unless we order that they should be paid.

Summons requiring a person to give evidence

A person summoned to give evidence must be paid:

  • the amount of wages, salary or fees not paid to them because they appeared before us to give evidence, or
  • a reasonable amount for each day the person appears before us to give evidence.

This amount must be paid as soon as practicable after the person has given evidence.

The person summoned to give evidence must be paid a reasonable amount for expenses to appear before us, including

  • transport costs, and 
  • if the person is required to be absent overnight from their usual place of residence, meals and accommodation.

These amounts must be paid no later than a reasonable time before the day the person is required to give evidence.

Summons requiring a person to produce documents

A person summoned to produce documents must be paid a reasonable amount for any expenses to produce the documents. 

This amount is usually paid when the person is given the summons.

Look at sections 13, 14 and 15 of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Regulation 2015 for more information about fees and allowances.


Responding to a summons to produce documents

If you receive a summons to produce documents, you must give us the documents by the date specified on the summons. You do not need to come to the AAT if you can send us the documents by 4 pm the day before.

You should provide copies of documents unless the summons states that original documents are required. Original documents should be clearly marked as being original. 

If you do not have any documents, you must write to the AAT and tell us this.

If you want the AAT to make an order that you are not required to produce the documents or restricting access to any documents that you are required to produce, you must make a request in writing explaining why before the date specified on the summons. We might hold a directions hearing to consider the request. 


Inspecting documents produced in response to a summons

We usually allow parties to inspect the documents that are produced in response to a summons and make copies as needed. We make orders specifying when each party can inspect the documents.

If you are a party and you want us to make an order restricting another party’s access to any of the documents, you must make a request in writing before the other party can access the documents. We might hold a directions hearing to consider the request.


What happens if I do not comply with a summons?

Failure to comply with a summons without a reasonable excuse is a criminal offence.

If you receive a summons and believe you have a reasonable excuse for not giving evidence or producing documents, you must contact us immediately.

If you think the amount of expenses paid to you is not sufficient, you must still comply with the summons. If you cannot reach agreement about the amount of the expenses with the party who asked us to issue the summons, you can ask the AAT to decide the amount.