The Court Case - Information for Witnesses

When a person accused of committing a crime is formally charged and the case goes to court, the court will set a date for the accused to have their first court appearance.

Request to Appear in Court

If the case proceeds to a preliminary hearing or trial and Crown counsel believe your testimony is needed, you will be notified to testify as a witness against the accused. You may be asked to be a witness for Crown or defence counsel.

Even if you have already given your written statement to police, you may be required to testify in court. The court cannot consider your evidence unless you testify.

You may receive a phone call, letter or subpoena from Crown or defence counsel indicating you must appear in court to testify. If you receive a document, remember to bring it with you to court.


A subpoena is a court order that requires you to attend court as a witness. It will say the date and time of the hearing, courthouse location and courtroom number.

You must obey a subpoena. If you do not appear in court at the time indicated in the subpoena, you may be arrested. If you attend court, but refuse to answer questions at the hearing, you could be charged with contempt of court.

Crown or defence counsel may contact you by telephone or letter and not a subpoena.

Witness Notifier

When you receive a request to attend court as a witness, you will be given contact information for the witness notifier. You should call the witness notifier to confirm you received the request and to say you will attend. The witness notifier helps manage the list of witnesses who are to attend hearings and is available to answer questions. Call the witness notifier again closer to the hearing date to confirm the date and time have not changed.

More Information

Visit Court Hearings for more information.