Guide

Witness expenses for going to court

Last updated: 25 May 2017

What you can claim expenses for

You can claim expenses for:

  • travelling to and from the court
  • meals
  • loss of income or earnings
  • childcare and other caring duties – like looking after a relative who is elderly or has disabilities
  • accompanying a vulnerable witness

Travel expenses

You can claim expenses to cover the cost of getting from your home (the address on your citation) to the court. You can be refunded for travelling by:

  • car – you'll get a certain amount of money per mile but parking charges won't be refunded
  • bus or train – standard fare (send your ticket with your expenses claim form)
You won't usually be refunded for travelling by taxi or by air unless there are special circumstances. You must agree this in advance with the person who cited you as a witness. If you don't agree this in advance, you may not get back the full cost of your travel.

Meal allowance

You're entitled to a fixed allowance for snacks and meals based on the time that you spend at court – like if you're at court over lunchtime.

Loss of income or earnings

If you're employed or self-employed, you may need to take time off work to come to court. You can claim some money back to cover pay or earnings you've lost.

There's a limit to how much you can claim.

Childcare

There aren't any childcare facilities at court buildings so you can't bring children with you – unless they're over 14.

If you don't have your own babysitter or childminder, you can find registered childcare facilities in your area on the Scottish Families Information Service website. You may be able to claim for some childcare expenses from the person who cited you.

Carer expenses

If you look after someone else, like a relative who is elderly or has disabilities, you may be eligible to claim caring expenses. These will cover the cost of getting someone else to look after the person you care for when you're in court.

People accompanying vulnerable witnesses

You can claim some expenses if you've been asked to accompany a witness who is:

  • a child
  • disabled
  • vulnerable

The witness can also claim expenses.

Expenses will only be paid if you've received a letter from the Procurator Fiscal, Children's Reporter or defence lawyer asking you to attend court with the witness.

What if I can't afford expenses up front?

Speak to the person who cited you – in advance of going to court – if you think you won't be able to afford to get to court. They may be able to provide options.

How are expenses paid?

Expenses are paid directly into your bank account. Cash payments aren't normally made except in special circumstances.

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Witness expenses for going to court
What you can claim expenses for