Production of documents

Originals held by defence

1. When a defendant holds the original of any document which you wish to be produced in court, you should send a recorded delivery letter describing the document and notifying the defendant that you wish the document to be produced, for standard text see SL6.

2. This allows you to present a copy in court if the defendant does not produce the original. 1 You should not rely on the defendant bringing the document to court.

3. If the defendant is a body corporate, you should obtain and serve a witness summons on the secretary or other officer of the company, to attend and produce any document under that person's control.

4. Where a director has been authorised in writing to represent the company under the MCA 1980, Schedule 3, a witness summons to produce documents should be served on another officer.

5. A witness summons to produce documents cannot be obtained for a defendant who is an individual.

6. If there is any doubt as to the document which the defendant is required to produce, you should attach to the letter or witness summons any copy which you have in your possession.

Documents held by other witnesses

7. Where a witness other than a defendant holds a document that you wish to produce, you should obtain a copy and serve a witness summons on them requiring them to produce the original document, with a copy of the document you require attached to the summons.

Documents required to be displayed

8. In the case of documents required by statute to be affixed constantly at the workplace, a notice to produce need not be given, and secondary evidence as to the contents is admissible, 2 for example, the evidence of an inspector who has seen the document.


  1. See Physical Evidence in Court Section. Back to reference of footnote 1
  2. Owner v Beehive Spinning Company [1914] 1 KB 105. Back to reference of footnote 2

Is this page useful?

Updated 2020-09-18