summons

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A form prepared by the plaintiff and issued by a court that informs the defendant that he or she has been sued. The summons requires that the defendant file a response with the court -- or in many small claims courts, simply appear in person on an appointed day -- within a given time period or risk losing the case under the terms of a default judgment.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.