This article will provide guidance on How To Domesticate a Foreign Subpoena in Alabama.  The Uniform Law Commission devised the Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act to improve the cumbersome, time-consuming practice of conducting out-of-state discovery in state court matters (UIDDA). In 2007, the UIDDA became law and has since been adopted by most states, allowing plaintiffs to demand depositions and discovery from persons and organizations situated outside of their home state with relative ease. When serving a subpoena on someone who lives outside the state, the UIDDA follows Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 45.  The Alabama Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act took effect on January 1, 2013, and only applies to civil actions.

Uniform Interstate Depositions and Discovery Act UIDDA-Alabama

An out-of-state discovery request must be preceded by an Alabama UIDDA subpoena issued by the state court where the matter is being heard. This Alabama UIDDA subpoena must then be presented to the county clerk in which the plaintiff requests discovery in the lawsuit. After that, the clerk will issue a local subpoena to serve on the person or organization that is the subject of the request for discovery. The subpoena must conform with all state regulations and legislation relating to discovery before it may be issued. 

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rules of the United States District Court govern discovery procedures in different districts. In civil discovery practice, various issues may arise, none explicitly addressed by the rules or the case law. Over many decades in this District, attorneys and judges have filled many gaps on their own accord, leading to conventions and use in various recurrent discovery scenarios.

Under the UIDDA, a deposition may be held in those states where a commission or letter rogatory from a court of law is still required before a deposition can occur. Subpoenas are not court appearances under the UIDDA; therefore, an out-of-state plaintiff must not be licensed in the state to obtain them. As a result, a subpoena request under the UIDDA does not need an admission pro hac vice or the hiring of local counsel. The UIDDA requires a local state license, however, to file, react or present in court in relation to an application to enforce, quash, amend, or seek a protective order in relation to a subpoena.

Even while some states have approved the Model UIDDA, others have just recently adopted the UIDDA; the individual must double-check the requirements in both the state and locality where the case is being held and the state and locality where they want to conduct discovery (or will in the coming months). When a state adopts the UIDDA, obtaining a subpoena becomes more efficient and less costly.


For issuing a foreign subpoena, the clerk of the county’s circuit court where discovery is to be performed in Alabama must receive a foreign subpoena from a party. Submission of documents to the court is not required when filing an Alabama UIDDA subpoena request under this article.

A clerk of the circuit court, following the Alabama UIDDA process of that court, will be responsible for issuing an order for the Alabama UIDDA service of a subpoena on the person to whom the international subpoena is addressed, in accordance with that court’s procedure.

The foreign subpoena should include all the Alabama requisite details for an Alabama UIDDA subpoena. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all counsel of record in the action to which the subpoena pertains and any party not represented by counsel should be included or accompanied by the subpoena.

Within fifteen (15) days of proper service, the recipient of this Alabama UIDDA subpoena has the right to object to this subpoena by submitting a “reasonably specific” written objection to the party initiating the subpoena and the clerk of the court.

An application to the court for a protective order or to enforce, quash, or modify a subpoena issued by a clerk of court must comply with the rules or statutes of Alabama and must be submitted to the circuit court in the county in which discovery is to be conducted.


There must be a court clerk in the jurisdiction where discovery is sought who accepts overseas subpoenas. The clerk will issue an Alabama UIDDA subpoena for service on the individual to whom the international subpoena is addressed, in line with the court’s procedures.  The clerk’s subpoena must include the [A.] conditions from the international subpoena; and [B.] the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any counsel of record to whom the subpoena pertains, and any party not represented by counsel must be included in or accompany the subpoena. According to Alabama state law, the subpoena must be served in accordance with applicable regulations or legislation.

Any application for a protective order, subpoena enforcement, quash, or modification must be presented to the court where the discovery is sought in accordance with relevant Alabama UIDDA law and procedures.

In addition to the name of the court from which it was issued, each subpoena must also include the title of the action, the name of the court in which it is being heard, and the civil action number. It must also order the person to whom it is addressed to appear and give testimony, produce any books, documents, or tangible items in their possession, custody, or control, or to allow inspection of the premises, whichever is more applicable. A summons can appear before a trial, hearing, or deposition, including a demand to provide evidence or allow inspection.

For both a trial or hearing and deposition subpoena, the court in which the case is being litigated will issue the summons.

Every other party must be given notice of intent to serve. Within fifteen (15) days after the delivery of the notice of the intent to serve an Alabama UIDDA subpoena, together with the proposed subpoena, this is necessary to be done by the party requesting the issuance of a subpoena for production or inspection. The court has the discretion to grant a shorter or longer period. Unless a defendant has already requested discovery, no leave of court is needed to serve this notice until the expiry of forty-five (45) days after delivery of the summons and complaint or other methods of service under 


Subpoenas for production or inspection cannot be issued without an objection. Subpoenas for production or inspection may be objected to by anybody within ten (10) days after serving the notice, at which point the subpoena will not be issued. It is up to the clerk to issue the subpoena if no objections are filed within fifteen (15) days after the notice’s delivery; or if the court allows for a longer period.

Unless the individual’s name or the class or group to which the person belongs is known, the subpoena must contain a generic description of the person or the class or group. There must be sufficient detail provided in the subpoena to identify the objects to be examined, either individually or as a group of related items. Unless the court directs differently, the Alabama UIDDA subpoena must indicate a reasonable amount of time following delivery, the way the inspection will be conducted, and the connected actions that will be performed. Documents or physical goods should be stored in a regular or suitable location selected by the receiver for such activities.

However, the Alabama UIDDA subpoena may stipulate that any copies of papers or items delivered or sent as evidence must be legible. However, this alternative may be conditioned on payment of the reasonable cost of creating such copies prior to delivery or mailing by the party receiving the subpoena. In order to comply with the subpoena, additional parties may be present. The receiver of the subpoena must be informed of their right to object at any time prior to the due date of the subpoena. All parties are entitled to have copies of papers or materials served by the subpoena made accessible to them at the reasonable expense of producing such copies if they so desire.


Anyone under eighteen (18) may serve an Alabama UIDDA subpoena on the sheriff, a deputy sheriff, or any other person not involved in the case who is at least 18 years old. Subpoenas are served by handing them to the person named in them or by leaving a copy of them at their home or usual place of abode with an adult of suitable age and discretion currently residing there. If the person named in the subpoena must appear somewhere more than 100 miles away from their home, they must pay a fee for one day’s attendance and a sum to reimburse the travel expenses. 

When proof of service is required, the clerk of the court where the subpoena was issued must receive a statement from the person who served the subpoena certifying the date and method of service and the names of the people served.

In order to avoid putting an excessive hardship or cost on the person who is the subject of a subpoena, the party or attorney responsible for its issue and service must take reasonable precautions. As part of its enforcement, the court that issued the subpoena must penalize the party or attorney who fails to comply with this responsibility, which may include monetary penalties and attorney’s fees. ) Unless required to attend in person for deposition, hearing, or trial, a person ordered to produce and authorize inspection and copying of certain books, papers, documents, or tangible items, or to examine premises, need not appear in person at the location of production or inspection.

A person directed to produce and authorize inspection and copying may serve upon the party or attorney indicated in the subpoena a written objection to inspection or copying of any or all of the designated items or the premises. Subpoenaed documents and premises cannot be seen or copied until an order of the court issued by which the subpoena was issued in place. A subpoena-serving party may seek an order to compel production at any moment if the person is directed to produce objects to the summons. Anyone who isn’t a party or an official of a party won’t have to pay for the extensive scrutiny and copying required by such a court order.


Subpoenas are quashed or modified by the court issuing them when they fail to provide adequate time for compliance, require a resident of this state or an officer thereof to travel more than one hundred (100) miles from the place where they reside, work, or regularly transact business in person, or require a nonresident of this state who is neither a party nor an officer thereof to travel more than one hundred (100) miles from the place where they reside, work, or regularly transact business in person.

Trade secrets, commercial information, or information from an unretained expert’s opinion or information that does not describe specific events or occurrences in the dispute or requires a person who is not a party or an officer of a party to incur substantial expense to travel more than 100 miles to attend the trial, the c may be a violation of the attorney-client privilege.

Documents must be produced per the subpoena’s categories or organized and labeled according to the subpoena’s requirements. Additionally, there must be an explicit claim of privilege or protection for trial preparation materials when information is withheld from subpoenaed documents, communications, or other things. The demand for the information must be supported by a description of the nature of the documents, communications, or things that are not produced.

A person may be found in contempt of court if they refuse to comply with a subpoena placed on them without a good reason. 


Adopted January 1, 2013
Application for Issuance of a Foreign Subpoena Click Here!
Order to Appear to Person Under Foreign Subpoena Click Here!

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1. 12-21-402: Issuing a summons to an individual in another jurisdiction.

2. Section 12-21-403 Service of subpoena.  A subpoena issued by a clerk of court under Section 12-21-402 must be served in compliance with Rule 45 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure

3. Section 3 of Act 2012-518, p. 1538,

4. State law oversees the compliance with subpoenas for testimony and production of documents as well as permission to investigate premises

5. If a party requests it, the clerk will issue a subpoena, but the court where the matter is ongoing must issue a subpoena for production or inspection, apart from a subpoena requiring the presence of a person:

6. A motion for an order under Rule 37 (a) may be made with regard to an objection by the party who served the notice

7. If a subpoena is issued under this rule, it must be served on each party in the manner provided by Rule 5 for this rule to take effect, as set out in this rule’s subparagraph (a)(3) (b).

8. Subpoenas may be served at any location in the state if the conditions of clause (ii) of subparagraph (c)(3)(A) are met.

9. When a subpoena requires a nonparty to appear or produce at a location outside the state’s bounds, an acceptable reason for noncompliance exists.