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Subpoena Regulations

These regulations govern responses to subpoenas issued to federal judges and judiciary employees seeking either documents or testimony. They establish an administrative process for subpoena requests, impose general limitations on the nature of responses, and direct agency employees not to comply with subpoenas that are not approved through the administrative process. 

The regulations are principally procedural in nature and do not interfere with substantive decisions by individual courts and officers as to the availability of official documents and testimony. For example, the regulations provide that for a subpoena directed to a judge or a member of a judge’s personal staff, the judge is the official authorized to determine the proper substantive response to the subpoena. For a subpoena directed to a court unit or office, the determination would be assigned to the head of the unit or office, in consultation with the chief judge of the court, when appropriate. The regulations were endorsed by the Judicial Conference in 2003.

Subpoena Regulations (pdf)  (Guide to Judiciary Policy, Vol. 20, Ch. 8)