Issuing a Subpoena for a Minor
Sometimes, especially in domestic disputes, a key witness in a case may be a minor under the age of 18. The experience of such witnesses can be integral to the defendant’s or plaintiff’s case, but issuing a subpoena to ask them to testify at a hearing is complicated by their age. Rule 1:9 of the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey, the statute governing subpoenas, does not include any regulations for serving a subpoena to a minor. Because statutory law concerning subpoenaing minors is silent, the subpoena must be served to the minor’s parent or guardian. This is in accordance with R. 4:26-2, which states that “except as otherwise provided by law or R. 4:26-3 (virtual representation), a minor or mentally incapacitated person shall be represented in an action by the guardian of either the person of the property, appointed by the state.” Unless the court directs otherwise, the parent of the minor is assumed to be the appointed guardian. Therefore, when requiring a minor to appear at trial, the attorney must subpoena the minor’s parent or legal guardian, not the minor. Once the subpoena is issued, however, the minor is required to testify if the attorney wished to question them.
Written by Katie Metzger, Loyola University Maryland, Third Year
Disclaimer: The opinions shared in this article are the opinions of the author and do not reflect the opinions of Loyola University Maryland.