The Council of Chief Justices of Australia and New Zealand (Council) adopted the harmonised rules on subpoenas in late 2003. 

On 2 November 2016, the Council adopted a recommendation of the Harmonisation of Rules Committee to provide for three types of subpoenas: to give evidence; to produce documents, and to give evidence and produce documents.  Three forms were implemented for each type of subpoena. 

In 2017, the Council adopted the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic) as the model amendments to the harmonised subpoena rules and forms.  

The harmonised rules cover the following topic areas regarding subpoenas:

  • Leave to issue subpoenas
  • Subpoenas to give evidence and to produce
  • Issuing subpoenas
  • Form of subpoena
  • Setting aside or other relief
  • Service
  • Compliance and failure to comply
  • Return and inspection

Implementation of the harmonised rules

The harmonised rules have been adopted in similar form in the following Australian jurisdictions: 

Federal Court of Australia

Part 24, Division 24.1 & 24.2 Subpoenas Federal Court Rules 2011 (Cth)


Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1)

Part 6.5, Division 6.5.1 Subpoenas  Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Cth)


Australian Capital Territory

Part 6.9 Subpoenas Court Procedure Rules 2006 (ACT) 


New South Wales

Part 33 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW)

Northern Territory

Order 42 Subpoenas Supreme Court Rules 1987 (NT)


South Australia

Chapter 13, Part 6 of the Uniform Civil Rules 2020 (SA) 



Division 3 – Subpoenas Supreme Court Rules 2000 (TAS) 



Order 42 of the Supreme Court (General Civil Procedure) Rules 2015 (Vic) 


Western Australia

Order 26B – Subpoenas Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (WA)


Other jurisdictions

Currently, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1), Queensland and New Zealand have not decided to implement the Harmonised Rules relating to subpoenas.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Division 1) subpoena rules appear in Part 6.5, Division 6.5.1 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (Family Law) Rules 2021 (Cth).

Queensland’s subpoena rules appear in Chapter 11, Part 4 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld).  Compliance with subpoenas is found in Part 7 of the Civil Proceeding Act 2011 (Qld).  

New Zealand’s subpoena rules appear in Part 9, Subpart 7 of the High Court Rules 2006 (NZ).