Home > Ask Our Experts > What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?

What Will Happen if I Don't Turn Up at Court?

By: Dave Howell - Updated: 19 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
What Will Happen If I Don't Turn Up At Court?

Q.

What would happen to me if I did not attend court as a witness? I have no evidence in the case and do not wish to go, it is only a minor case so could I get arrested or would I just get a fine?

(Mr ryan ward, 4 December 2008)

A.

The type of case you are involved in will determine what could happen if you don’t attend court as a witness. Even if you don’t think you have any evidence to give to the court, this isn’t your decision to make. The person that is bringing the court case will have a solicitor who will decide whether you should attend court to give whatever evidence they think you have that is pertinent to the case.

Generally speaking you should not have any serious consequences if you don’t actually attend the court. However, it may be the case that if you don’t attend and you have not informed the police or the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) that you won’t be attending, a witness summons may be issued. If this happens you are compelled to attend the court on the stated time and date. If you fail to attend the court after a witness summons has been issued, a warrant for your arrest would then be granted.

Also, making an excuse that you are ill for example is not good enough. You would have to produce a doctor’s medical certificate that states that you are not in a fit state to attend the court. If other events prevent you from attending court, you should let the court know as soon as possible. Depending on the seriousness of the case and how essential your evidence is, you may be excused attending.

Lastly, if you want to ensure that if you do not attend court you will not be prosecuted or arrested by the police, you can apply to the court for a decision on whether you do actually have to attend the court to give your evidence. Contact the court where the case is being heard for further details about how to make this application. Note that a fee is payable to gain this type of decision from the court. There is more information about going to court as a witness here and here. You will also find information on the HMCS (HM Courts Service) website including a number of leaflets that explain what to expect when being a witness in the different types of court you could be asked to attend.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
i am a witness in a rape case I have been intimidated and harrased by police to act as a witness I am not going to court as it is at a local court and not at crown and it will have to go to crown
aba - 19-Jun-17 @ 1:22 PM
Hi, I am a victim/witness in a sexual assult case. I now live abroad and have spend 4.5 months in Mental Hospital for major depression. I am not fit to attend the court but am worried about consequences..I have informed the police/court of my situation and the judge requested letter from my doctor.What can happen to me?
Iz - 16-Jun-17 @ 3:38 PM
Twinklestar - Your Question:
Hi I am a witness against my husband ABH charges but I have retract my statement say that I lied in the first statement now they ask me to come to the trial day no summons but a letter from witness care centre to come to crown court as witness as my husband plea not guilty now if I don't go on the day what will happen my husband is still on remand I don't want to support the case against him any more but cps are still going ahead if I say to them I'm not coming the will summon me to come to court but at the moment the only send a letter to come and attend court and I said I will come. What will happen if I don't go to court on trial date? Plz help

Our Response:
The court could adjourn the proceedings so that a witness summons can be served on you, please see link here for more information.
CourtroomAdvice - 13-Jun-17 @ 1:51 PM
Hi I am a witness against my husband ABH charges but I have retract my statement say that I lied in the first statement now they ask me to come to the trial day no summons but a letter from witness care centre to come to crown court as witness as my husband plea not guilty now if I don't go on the day what will happen my husband is still on remand I don't want to support the case against him any more but cps are still going ahead if I say to them I'm not coming the will summon me to come to court but at the moment the only send a letter to come and attend court and I said I will come. What will happen if I don't go to court on trial date? Plz help
Twinklestar - 6-Jun-17 @ 9:04 AM
WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I FAIL TO ATTEND COURT CASE? A WARRANT OF ARREST (WOA) OPEN AND EXTENED. NO NEW DATE FIX. WHAT DOES IT'S MEAN? WHAT OPTION I HAVE? WHAT CAN I DO TO TO ERASE/SETTLE/FREE OUT FROM WOA? HOW?
Zaq - 5-Apr-17 @ 8:04 PM
If you don't attend court as a witness does your name still get given in court along with your statement? Thank you x
Haras - 17-Mar-17 @ 8:17 AM
I have been summoned to court as a witness, in Malaga Spain.I did not 'witness' anything as such.My credit card was fraudulently used in Marbella in 2006, when I stayed in a 5* hotel.My bank paid back all monies taken and that I thought would have been it.I have tried to speak to the court - through a friend who speaks Spanish, I was informed that I had to attend.I have asked about claiming for flights and accommodation, told to seek advice from the Ministry of Justice.I emailed them and was told they can not help me.Why should I be 'out of pocket', miss work and pay, work are not happy about me missing time.I asked to give evidence through video link / written statement all discounted.Can you help?
Shaz - 25-Feb-17 @ 4:18 PM
Hello I was attacked last year in a shop by 1 guy with a knife his 2 friends were there and they didn't do much but they did participate it was just the one guy and he got sent down for it. But his mate wants to plea he case against me in court but I don't want to go court I want it done with now can I just not attend? I am the main witness buy I'm done with it all.
vectra91 - 19-Feb-17 @ 9:12 AM
If I don't attend civil court family law would I be in contempt what would happen?
Dek - 10-Feb-17 @ 11:47 PM
My housing are taking me to court over rent arrears by I paid it now do I have to attend the hearing
Claire - 4-Feb-17 @ 10:56 PM
Hi there.I was asked by an ex-childs social worker to make a statement about an incident.I made this statement to the social workers.The case, which there is more involved, is now going to court and I have been told by my social worker that I have to attend court to give evidence.However i have never given a formal statement to the police or CPS and never received a formal request to attend court, just the social worker telling me I have to go.my question is - I am petrified of attending and do I have to go or can I refuse until I receive a formal summons to go to court to give this evidence.Thanks in advance
fosterfoster - 12-Jan-17 @ 1:49 PM
Hi, iv been sent a letter from the courts saying im required to attend court as a witness against my husband for harassment without violence and harassment - put in fear of violence towards me. After long thinking, I have decided I just want the whole thing to be dropped and decided I don't want to give evidence. Can I do this and what would happen if I dont turn up on the day. Any advice will be much appreciated. Thank you.
cuddles - 9-Jan-17 @ 7:17 PM
What is the consequence of refusing to attend court as a witness?
lettie - 7-Jan-17 @ 1:48 PM
al - Your Question:
Hi I have recently been questioned under recording at my local housing office for benefit fraud I never meant to commit fraud I am working so is my partner they knew about me working but not my partner as she only works 12hrs a week they said I'd been over paid by £2000 do you think this will go to court as I've got children and I'm worried thanks

Our Response:
I'm afraid we cannot anticipate whether your case may go to court as much depends upon whether the investigation rules the fraud to be intentional. As a general rule; if the investigators find enough evidence to suggest you have committed benefit fraud, they 'may' refer the case to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) if; the gross overpayment is £2,000 or over, or the overpayment is less than this but you have refused to accept an administration penalty or a caution. However, not all cases end in prosecution. According to the Citizens Advice Bureau, the following factors will be taken into account before making a decision to take you to court. These include; how likely the prosecution is to be successful. This will often depend on the type and quality of the evidence that has been presented and/or the amount of any overpayment of benefit. It will also take into consideration if you would have been better off on another benefit rather than claiming fraudulently - if this is the case, prosecution is less likely. Whether you have previously committed benefit fraud and the seriousness of the fraud will be taken into account. If you used forged or stolen documents or made multiple claims, then there is likely to be a prosecution. Your age, health and personal circumstances and the extent to which you actually intended to defraud the benefit office will be considered, as will the the type of fraud. You can see more via the CAB link here which will explain the process further.
CourtroomAdvice - 4-Jan-17 @ 10:32 AM
Hi I have recently been questioned under recording at my local housing office for benefit fraud I never meant to commit fraud I am working so is my partner they knew about me working but not my partner as she only works 12hrs a week they said I'd been over paid by £2000 do you think this will go to court as I've got children and I'm worried thanks
al - 3-Jan-17 @ 10:24 AM
Hi I am a witness to a case I didn't see anything but heard something to do with the case. I have received a letter wanting me to confirm which dates I cannot attend crown court. I do not wish to go. What shall I do?
Rose - 19-Dec-16 @ 3:04 AM
Qusetion: I am defending myself in a case that's now three years old in the crown court, I have issued a court summons on someone to give evidence in the said trial. I strongly suspect that after recieving a letter for a date for mention that the CPS are going to try a block my summons. Can they do this?
Tame - 27-Nov-16 @ 10:54 AM
I gave a statement against my ex.partner for a domestic offence he pleaded not guilty there for resulting in me being asked to attend court as a witness/victim. I recieved a letter asking me to confirm my attendence however I havent done so and really dont want to go. Do I have to go? What happens if I say I will go then dont?? Tia
Amz - 11-Nov-16 @ 5:34 PM
I have been asked to attend court as a witness in a retrial from 8 yrs ago. Neither I or several other witnesses do not wish to go. What will happen? Can I get charged by police?
A - 7-Nov-16 @ 4:24 PM
Am I wrong not to go to court?I have been forced to be a state witness I don't have any evidence, I wasn't at the scene what will I say at court?I'm worried,I haven't received any summons or police to inform me about the court date.What should I do?
Lebza - 4-Nov-16 @ 1:31 PM
I haven't gone to my court for drinking under the influence and I need to get a court clearance. but do I have the right to fight for my rights especially since its my first time? I tried to call the court for not attending. but no response and have no clue whose my PO if I do have. I need a job but it requires me to get my court clearance and I'm not sure if I would be arrested or if I have any rights, if it does happened!
dee - 4-Nov-16 @ 4:20 AM
@ntobza -You can possibly change your statement, by submitmitting a second additional witness statement. But remember, if you change your statement and your statements are contradictory, by lying on one of the statements you too could be found in contempt of court which is a criminal offence. JaneT.
JTH78 - 2-Nov-16 @ 10:24 AM
I am withness of my friend case she push to lie on my statement can I change my statement
ntobza - 1-Nov-16 @ 9:33 AM
I have an inquiry regarding about drugs case my friend is a witness of drugs case but he feels scared to go the court as he is illegal he doesn't have the visa but he is the important witness of the case if he goes to the court what will happens
lucky - 22-Oct-16 @ 2:25 AM
Hi there. I have been asked to attend court for my boyfriend who was arrested for something i gave a statement but he wasnt charged with the offence but something different and now i have been asked by cps to attend but i wasnt there when the incident happened so i dont know why i have been asked to attend there is nothing i have that is of any use to them.
Kel - 18-Oct-16 @ 5:18 PM
Tinkerbell - Your Question:
I have to go to court cause my husband didn't mean ro assaulted me when happens if I don't go.

Our Response:
According to the CPS, if you decide you do not want to attend court or make another statement, it does not mean that the case will automatically be stopped. Instead the prosecution will have to find out why you have asked for the case to be stopped, so that decisions can then be made about what action to take. The prosecutor will want to know the reasons why you no longer wish to give evidence and may apply to the court for time to investigate. As specified in the article, you would have to inform the police or the PPS (Public Prosecution Service) that you won’t be attending. However, a witness summons may be issued. If this happens you are compelled to attend the court on the stated time and date. If you fail to attend the court after a witness summons has been issued, a warrant for your arrest would then be granted. When deciding to bring a person to trial, the CPS will always consider the seriousness of the offence, the victim's injuries, whether children are involved, whether a weapon was used, and whether there has been violence before.
CourtroomAdvice - 13-Oct-16 @ 2:38 PM
I have to go to court cause my husband didn't mean ro assaulted me when happens if I don't go.
Tinkerbell - 13-Oct-16 @ 2:43 AM
My ex bf is taking me to court because he want to stay with my child so what will happen if I change the my number so they can not reach me when they need to tell me the date of the court will I be arrested
Tc - 12-Oct-16 @ 6:11 AM
If I don't want to go and don't tell the police what will happen to me I am a witness
J - 14-Sep-16 @ 2:36 PM
I'm 15 and have to turn up to court to give evidence in 9 days, I really don't want to! Can I pull out and say that I don't want to go? What is the consequence of doing so?
Zigawoga - 31-Aug-16 @ 7:17 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the CourtroomAdvice website. Please read our Disclaimer.