The Court is experiencing increased filings of Objections in relation to Subpoenas to produce documents. This is impacting on workload and causing third parties to undertake additional work and incur costs.

This Circular is aimed to assist the profession and reduce impacts on the court and third parties.

Tasmania Police has provided the attached information, with the objective of reducing the number of Objections they are compelled to take.

Practitioners are reminded that the purpose of a Subpoena for production of documents is to access documents for admission into evidence at hearing, not be fishing or a form of discovery on non-parties. There should be a legitimate forensic purpose to any request to produce documents, meaning that they have apparent relevance to the issues in the proceedings.

Practitioners may find it useful to read Hatton & AG of the Commonwealth & Ors [2000] FamCA 892 at [34] and following, which provides an excellent summary of the relevant legal principles. It should be noted that Rule 6.33 of the Federal Circuit and Family Court (Family Law) Rules 2021 provides specific power to set aside the whole or part of a Subpoena.

Circular to Profession – subpoena objections