How to Calculate Witness Fees in Federal Court Cases

Under 28 USC § 1821, a person called to testify or present documents in federal court must be served with a subpoena, accompanied by a witness fee. Witness fees are monetary amounts paid to witnesses for their attendance in court and may also cover travel costs.

Failure to serve the subpoena with the necessary fee frees the witness of any duty or obligation to honor the subpoena.

Witness fees are subjected to federal and state laws and vary per jurisdiction. Read on to find out how they are calculated in federal court.

Determining Federal Case Witness Fees

For US federal cases, witnesses must be paid an attendance fee of $40 for each day that they appear in court, as well as a 57.5 cents mileage fee for transportation going to and from the place of attendance. If the witness takes a common carrier i.e., taxi service, airline, railroad, and ship – the most affordable means of transportation is reimbursed.

If, however, the witness uses a private vehicle to travel to and from the courthouse, the same guidelines will be followed for calculating the mileage. The reimbursement also covers toll fees and any parking fees incurred.

What About Overnight Stays?

For overnight stays, witnesses should also be paid a subsistence fee for each day they have to appear in court. This is intended to cover meals and other incidentals like taxi fairs. Likewise, the amount paid should not exceed the per diem amount determined by the federal administrator of General Services. Note that rates may differ annually in different jurisdictions.

For an updated list of per diem rates, you can visit this link.

On top of the compensation amount, the prosecutor assigned to the case must provide travel and lodging that is within a practical and acceptable price point; too luxurious and the court may deem it as excessive and inappropriate.

man going through documentsWhat If Physical Attendance Is Not Required?

Witness fees only apply to individuals who are required to appear in federal court. In cases where the production of documents, books, records, and other items, does not mandate physical attendance, compensation need not be paid to the witness. They are, however, entitled to the reimbursement of copying costs for the legal documents.

NY Legal Support Services You Can Trust

Witness fees are critical for progressing your case in federal court. That’s why at Serve Index LLC, we calculate witness fees with precision, free of charge. Then, our reliable process servers handle the delivery of the court papers and the applicable fees to the witness. You can count on us to serve the documents within your set timeframe to avoid potential delays in the case.

Beyond proper service, we also provide other legal support services such as court filing, document retrieval, mobile notary services, and skip tracing. Likewise, we deliver all types of legal documents concerning divorce, foreclosure, as well as tenant and landlord disputes.

Leave the calculation of witness fees and service of papers to professionals. Reach out to us today to get a free quote.

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