Victoria Legal Aid

Going to court as a witness

Information for victims of crime about giving evidence in court and services that can help if you have to attend court as a witness.

If you witnessed a crime you may be asked to give evidence in court. You will be told when and where you have to go to court.

If you have to give evidence in the Magistrates’ Court the letter you receive is called a ‘summons’. If you have to give evidence in the County or Supreme courts the letter you receive is called a ‘subpoena’.

If the case goes to trial in the County or Supreme courts you will usually have to give evidence at something called a ‘committal hearing’ in the Magistrates’ Court first. A committal hearing is when a magistrate decides whether there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial. If the case goes to trial, you may have to give evidence again.

You may also have to attend court if you make a victim impact statement.

Giving evidence

When you give evidence, you will be asked to tell the court what happened to you. You may be asked questions by a:

In some cases, victims may be able to give their evidence from a location outside the courtroom through closed circuit television. If you feel nervous about giving evidence, ask the prosecutor about this option.

Support is available

There are a number of support services available to help you if you have to appear in court.

Other support

Find out how victims of crime can get helpExternal Link .

The Magistrates' Court website has information about what to do if you receive a witness summonsExternal Link to appear in the Magistrates' Court to give evidence or produce documents.

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

We help Victorians with their legal problems and represent those who need it most. Find legal answers, chat with us online, or call us. You can speak to us in English or ask for an interpreter. You can also find more legal information at

Reviewed 13 March 2024

In this section