Subpena duces tecum

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Subpoena duces tecum means “a subpoena for the production of evidence” which requires the witness to produce documents, records, or other tangible objects for examination at a trial or hearing. Duces tecum in Latin means, “you shall bring with you.”

This case from California, explains that “a subpoena that requires the production of records, documents, or other things is known as a ‘subpoena duces tecum.’”

A subpoena duces tecum is not limited to parties to a lawsuit but may also be used to obtain potentially useful evidence such as documents or records, in the possession of others. In the absence of a valid excuse, a person served with a subpoena duces tecum must produce the items sought. The subpoena is usually not permitted if there are alternative methods for obtaining the information, and the question whether a particular subpoena duces tecum is enforceable or not, is a discretionary matter within the judgement of the court.

See also: subpoena

[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]