Greenville County
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Clerk of Court
Civil - Common Pleas
Subpoenas and Summons
What is a subpoena?

A subpoena is a document or writ issued under authority of the court for service upon a witness to compel their appearance in court. The attorney of record may sign civil subpoenas but the Clerk of Court must sign criminal subpoenas.

What is a summons?

A summons is a notice that a person or business has been sued. It is a mandate calling a person or business before the court to answer the claims or allegations made in a complaint attached to the summons. The person or business that issued the summons is called the "plaintiff". The person or business that receives the summons is called the "defendant".

If you receive a subpoena or summons, it is not necessary that you call the Clerk of Court. An attorney who is representing one of the parties in a lawsuit or a criminal case almost always issues the subpoena or summons. You should call your own attorney as to how to respond to the subpoena or summons. In the case of a subpoena, you might contact the attorney who issued the subpoena as to the exact date, time, and place you should appear to testify. In the case of a summons you should contact your own attorney as soon as possible.

Out-of-State Subpoenas

The rest of this heading deals with subpoenas needed by an out of state attorney for witnesses who are in this state. There is a fifty dollar ($50.00) filing fee to obtain a subpoena for the deposition of a witness in this state. However, the following documents are needed:

  • A certified writ, mandate or commission issued by a Judge ordering the deposition; or
  • A certified notice of deposition filed in the out of state court; and
  • A completed subpoena form, making sure to include the name of the person being subpoenaed and where they are to appear.

The Clerk’s office will attach a South Carolina subpoena form to this out of state subpoena.

The Clerk’s Office will not serve the subpoena, however the civil division of the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office or a private process server will provide that service at your request and for a fee.