Summons

Summons in the United States

Contents:

An instrument used to notify people of a legal cause against them and direct their appearance at a court. A summons is used to notify a person that a criminal complaint has been filed. Summons notification in criminal cases is usually reserved for nonserious charges. A summons is also used to give notice in civil matters. Whether the case is civil or criminal, the person named in the summons must answer the complaint, either by personal appearance or through the filing of an answer. A copy of the complaint is normally attached to the summons.

See Also

Default Judgment (Civil Process) Subpoena (Civil Process).

Analysis and Relevance

The summons is a means by which jurisdiction over a party is obtained. A summons is served by a public agent, such as a deputy sheriff, or by a private agency. Failure to comply with a summons has one of two consequences, depending on whether the case is civil or criminal. Failure to appear to answer a criminal complaint can lead to the issuing of an arrest warrant. Failure to offer response within a specified period in a civil case can subject the defendant to a default judgment, a judgment for the plaintiff entered against the defendant because of his or her absence or default. A summons notifies a defendant that he or she has been sued and orders response. A subpoena is distinguished in that it seeks to compel appearance of a person for the purpose of providing testimony.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Summons from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Summons Definition

In Common-Law Practice. The name of a writ commanding the sheriff, or other authorized oflfiicer, to notify a party to appear in court to answer a complaint made against him, and in the said writ specified, on a day therein mentioned. Viner, Abr.; 2 Sellon, Prac. 356; 3 Bl. Comm. 279. The writ of summons was substituted by St. 2 Wm. IV. c. 39, for the original writs by which actions were formerly commenced. In Code Practice. The proceeding to commence an action in many of the code states consists of a notice to defendant, requiring him to serve an answer to the complaint. It is ordinarily signed by the plaintiff or his attorney, bears no teste, and is not process. It may be served by any disinterested person or by the attorney. In other code states the summons runs in the name of the state or people, is issued by the clerk under seal, and is served by the sheriff. Some of the states permit the use of either of these, two modes of summons. See Process.

Summons in Foreign Legal Encyclopedias

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Summons Summons in the World Legal Encyclopedia.
Summons Summons in the European Legal Encyclopedia.
Summons Summons in the Asian Legal Encyclopedia.
Summons Summons in the UK Legal Encyclopedia.
Summons Summons in the Australian Legal Encyclopedia.

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Summons Summons in the Family Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the IP Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Commercial Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Criminal Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Antritrust Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Bankruptcy Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Constitutional Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Tax Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the and Finance and Banking Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Employment and Labor Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Personal Injury and Tort Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.
Summons Summons in the Environmental Law Portal of the American Encyclopedia of Law.

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Legal Issue for Attorneys

In Common-Law Practice. The name of a writ commanding the sheriff, or other authorized oflfiicer, to notify a party to appear in court to answer a complaint made against him, and in the said writ specified, on a day therein mentioned. Viner, Abr.; 2 Sellon, Prac. 356; 3 Bl. Comm. 279. The writ of summons was substituted by St. 2 Wm. IV. c. 39, for the original writs by which actions were formerly commenced. In Code Practice. The proceeding to commence an action in many of the code states consists of a notice to defendant, requiring him to serve an answer to the complaint. It is ordinarily signed by the plaintiff or his attorney, bears no teste, and is not process. It may be served by any disinterested person or by the attorney. In other code states the summons runs in the name of the state or people, is issued by the clerk under seal, and is served by the sheriff. Some of the states permit the use of either of these, two modes of summons. See Process.

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Notice

This definition of Summons Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Practical Information

Note: Some of this information was last updated in 1982

The first paper that is served on the defendant (in U.S. law), sometimes being served before the preparation of the complaint (in U.S. law) . It notifies the person named in the summons that suit is being brought against him or her and commands that person to appear in court or answer the complaint by a certain date. Although the secretary to the plaintiff s attorney prepares the summons, it is generally issued and signed by the clerk of the court (in U.S. law). The summons consists of the following parts:

1. Caption.

2. Body. This commands the defendant to answer the complaint within the time specified.

3. Signature and seal of the Clerk of the Court. (In New York the plaintiff s attorney signs the summons.)

(Revised by Ann De Vries)

What is Summons?

For a meaning of it, read Summons in the Legal Dictionary here. Browse and search more U.S. and international free legal definitions and legal terms related to Summons.

Concept of Summons in Judicial Assistance

In this context, a definition of Summons may be as follows: A document by which a party is summoned to answer a complaint filed with a court.

Summons (Service of Process)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of summons. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Service of Process is provided. Finally, the subject of Pleadings in relation with summons is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Summons (Service of Process)

This section introduces, discusses and describes the basics of summons. Then, cross references and a brief overview about Service of Process is provided. Finally, the subject of Practice in relation with summons is examined. Note that a list of cross references, bibliography and other resources appears at the end of this entry.

Resources

See Also

  • Legal Topics.
  • Service of Process.

    procedure.

    Further Reading (Articles)

    Summons confusion.(News), Daily News (South Africa); February 14, 2008

    Summons servers are pulling a fast one; Didn’t know you weredue in court? It maynot be your fault.(News), The Saturday Star (South Africa); June 23, 2007

    No extension to pay summonses, New Straits Times; March 1, 2011; Lydia Gomez Jassmine Shadiqe Dennis Wong Kalbana Perimbanayagam

    Changes in third-party summons rules.(IRS procedure), The Tax Adviser; July 1, 1999; Whisenant, Lori A. Urban, Michael A. Desirgh, Jana S.

    VIPs yet to settle traffic summonses totalling RM100,000, New Straits Times; November 9, 2002; Noor Adzman Baharuddin Jalina Joheng Sharanjit Singh Sim Bak Heng Ridzal A. Latiff

    Goodbye, manual summons issuing, New Straits Times; March 23, 2009; Izwan Ismail

    More warrants served for ignoring summonses, New Straits Times; May 23, 2002

    Court Approves “John Doe” Summons Authority for IRS to Provide Treaty Partner with Information on US Bank Accountholders, Mondaq Business Briefing; October 23, 2013; Smith, Dan

    10 firms yet to settle 43,122 summonses, New Straits Times; November 18, 2000; Tony Emmanuel Annie Freeda Cruez

    Thousands throng police stations to settle summonses, New Straits Times; May 5, 2002; Balan Moses

    Participant in proceedings cannot complain of defect in form of summons, The Irish Times; February 12, 1996; ALISTAIR RUTHERDALE

    Traffic summons: Please clarify, New Straits Times; August 26, 2003; O.B.L.

    Trevor Summons brings travel expertise to I.E., San Bernardino County Sun (San Bernardino, CA); November 29, 2006; Yazmin Alvarez

    ATTORNEY GENERAL COOPER ISSUES OPINION REGARDING SECURITY GUARDS ISSUING CRIMINAL SUMMONS/CITATION, US Fed News Service, Including US State News; January 4, 2007

    RM600 fine for motorists who fail to settle summonses in 14 days, New Straits Times; April 27, 2002; Lee Shi-Ian Jasbir Singh

    IRS levies and summons: What’s hot and what’s not, Texas Banking; September 1, 1996; Rodgers, Kelly

    Postal summonses a mere waste of time and resources, New Straits Times; December 3, 1997

    Supreme Court Grapples with Showing Required for Evidentiary Hearing before Summons Enforcement, Mondaq Business Briefing; April 25, 2014; Greenhouse, Robin

    Profile: New Yorkers becoming fed up with silly summonses from the city, NPR Morning Edition; June 3, 2003; JOHN YDSTIE

    Paying summonses online, New Straits Times; May 2, 2002; Sharifah Kasim

    Summons in the context of Juvenile and Family Law

    Definition ofSummons published by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges:1) A legal document, issued by the court clerk or other court officer, notifying the named person that a law-suit or legal cause has been filed against or involves him or her, and notifying such person of any dates set for hearings and deadlines for responding to the complaint or petition. The purpose of a summons is simply to notify the persons concerned; it does not require court attendance by any person. 2) In some states, a citation issued by a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation or other minor offense is known as a summons. Citations do require the persons to whom they are issued to appear in court.

    Summons: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

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