Guide

Being a witness at court

Last updated: 29 June 2017

Your citation

Your citation is an official letter telling you to come to court and give evidence as a witness.

This is different from the citation you may receive asking you to go to a witness interview and give a precognition statement.

The citation explains:

Depending on what type of court case it is, the person who sends you a citation will be:

  • your local Procurator Fiscal or a defence lawyer – in criminal court cases (they'll also send you a booklet with the letter called Being a Witness)
  • a Children's Reporter – in Children's Hearing court cases
  • parties to the case or their lawyers – in civil court cases

Read over your citation carefully and take it with you when you go to court. Make sure you fill in the expenses claim form on the back of your citation to claim expenses from the person who cited you as a witness.

If you can't make the day of the trial

Tell whoever asked you to be a witness right away if there's an important reason why you can't make the date of the trial.

It's important not to ignore a citation. If you don't turn up at the correct time and place, the court can issue a warrant for your arrest.

If you have a pre-booked holiday, you'll need to post or email copies of your booking confirmation and details of the case you're involved with to whoever cited you as a witness.

If you're worried about giving evidence, you should speak to the person who asked you be a witness. They can direct you to the best advice and support.

You might be eligible for special measures – like a screen or giving evidence in a different room – if your circumstances or the nature of the case might affect the quality of your evidence.

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Being a witness at court
Your citation