NSW Wife Served A Subpeona- She Can't Attend?

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18 September 2014

My wife has been served a subpoena to give evidence at a court over a five day period. She currently breastfeeds our baby several times a day and also looks after our 2 year old toddler. The baby refuses to take a bottle, outright refuses, so essentially she has to be with him 24/7.

On top of this, there is no one she can leave the baby and toddler with either so the whole situation is untenable. She has called the Law firm repeatedly and sent emails explaining her situation and they have been very dismissive. They said its up to the barrister and they are still expecting her to show up.

We called Legal Aid, but they said they could not provide advice on civil matters.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, PK


LawTap Verified
27 May 2014
Put this question to the court where she has to attend and see what they say. They are allowed to give procedural advice on court cases.

Owens Lawyers

Well-Known Member
13 June 2014
Hi @pman1971

It is contempt of court to not answer a subpoena without a reasonable excuse. In some cases a person does not need to attend if sufficient conduct money has not been provided.

The magistrate or judge hearing the case can issue a warrant for her arrest if she doesn't turn up. But this doesn't mean they will.

Whether or not she has a reasonable excuse is legal advice. It might be a good idea for her to contact the court and let then know of her difficulties. It may also be possible that if the judge/magistrate and lawyers involved know of her predicament a day and time for her to give evidence could be narrowed down to one day or less.


Well-Known Member
23 July 2014
Courts are not appropriate places for children, even ones oblivious to what a courthouse is.

Is there any reason you can't stay home and take care of the child so your wife can attend court? The reasons you have provided here are not particularly compelling for a failure to give evidence - especially if the matter is serious enough to require a five-day trial. In court, evidence isn't optional, and if you have evidence to provide, you have a duty to provide it, even if you have kids. It isn't a matter of 'Oh, sorry, court on that day just doesn't fit into my schedule'.

To give you an idea of why I say this, consider if this situation applied to you. If you found yourself in a tough situation and the only witness you had to get you out of that situation came back saying, 'Sorry, can't help you, can't find a babysitter', it's not likely that you would be okay with that.

Sorry if I come across as blunt. Hopefully, you can see why simply being a parent isn't a good enough reason not to fullfill duties to the court.
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