Definition of summons in English:



  • 1An order to appear before a judge or magistrate, or the writ containing such an order:

    ‘a summons for non-payment of a parking ticket’
    • ‘One of the defendants promptly challenged the validity of the summons at the time it was served, and obtained an order striking out the proceedings on those grounds.’
    • ‘However, the court did lose jurisdiction over the person and it could only regain that jurisdiction by re-issuing a summons to the defendant to appear.’
    • ‘After a summons has been issued magistrates can empower the council to take the money it is owed straight out of people's wage packets or deduct it from their income support.’
    • ‘They are in the nature of a proposed amended writ of summons, a summons for directions and an affidavit in each of the matters and a list of authorities in each of the matters.’
    • ‘There is in fact no procedure within the rules governing liability orders for setting aside liability orders obtained on summonses which have not been validly served.’
    • ‘That was by no means forthcoming and on 23 August 1990 the respondent issued an originating summons in the High Court seeking possession.’
    • ‘In the other summons, the first defendant seeks an order that the matter be remitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania for hearing.’
    • ‘Costs of the matter will be costs in the special leave application and in the summons for the order nisi.’
    • ‘This section incorporates the ‘service and proof of service’ provisions for subpoenas, summonses and warrants established under provincial law.’
    • ‘It includes the originating summons and the writ of habeas corpus that were filed in that court and/or the evidentiary material before that court.’
    • ‘First of all they'll issue you with a summons to appear in the magistrates court where, if you still can't or won't make an arrangement to pay, a liability order will be granted.’
    • ‘He then failed to answer a summons from the examining magistrate, and a warrant for his arrest was issued on 28th January 1997.’
    • ‘This was in our judgment fully enough to require the district judge to issue an interpleader summons under section 101.’
    • ‘A summons requiring the Defendant's attendance was attached to the Order.’
    • ‘The plaintiff moves on a summons dated 20 July 2005 seeking an order that that application be removed into the Full Court of the High Court.’
    • ‘His Honour subsequently dismissed the summons in the Common Law Division and referred the probate proceedings to the Registrar.’
    • ‘She had disobeyed a witness summons ordering her to give evidence at the trial.’
    • ‘In the meantime, on 25 July 2003 the respondent filed a summons seeking an order for security for costs in the sum of $80,000.’
    • ‘When this summons was served on the defendants' solicitors they retaliated by issuing a summons seeking an order that the action be struck out for want of prosecution.’
    • ‘The thugs will then be issued with a civil summons to attend magistrates court where police will apply to the bench for banning orders.’
    order, directive, command, instruction, dictum, demand, decree, injunction, fiat, edict, direction, charge, bidding, call, request, invitation, plea, appeal
    writ, subpoena, warrant, arraignment, indictment, court order, process
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    1. 1.1 An authoritative or urgent call to someone to be present or to do something:
      [with infinitive] ‘they might receive a summons to fly to France next day’
      • ‘Too bad for that Czech or Afrikaans novelist who has not yet had the royal summons to appear in English.’
      • ‘Edward felt as if he'd been walking in a trance ever since his summons to the Duke's presence.’
      • ‘And now, if he is to answer the divine summons, he must turn from image to reality.’
      • ‘Certainly Edward had never been singled out with a summons to his presence before.’
      • ‘Paul says a revelation led him to return, implying that he was not responding to a summons from the authorities of the church in Jerusalem.’
      • ‘Receipt of an overseas letter was often accompanied by a summons from authorities asking about foreign contacts.’
      • ‘Is there a second summons, is there?’
      • ‘So that was what the urgent summons had been about.’
      • ‘A royal summons, after all, could not be ignored.’
      • ‘Taking a deep breath and steadying herself, she went to answer the summons.’
      • ‘The Raja's envoy, Hari Chand, who reached Kiratpur on the Baisakhi day of 1661, presented the royal summons.’
      • ‘This wasn't a friendly knock; it was an urgent summons.’
      appeal, entreaty, plea, petition, solicitation, supplication, prayer, invocation
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  • Serve (someone) with a summons:

    [with object and infinitive] ‘he has been summonsed to appear in court next month’
    • ‘In May 1940 six people were summonsed in connection with a poster saying ‘This war will cease when men refuse to fight.’’
    • ‘Another woman was also summonsed for assisting the first defendant.’
    • ‘The defendant was summonsed with driving with a concentration of 205 mgs of alcohol in his blood at Kilkenny Road on August 9.’
    • ‘The 54 retailers who have been summonsed to the Rotorua District Court face fines of up to $1000.’
    • ‘If a motorist drives through a red light at speed, they can be summonsed to appear in court and face a maximum fine of up to £1,000 and four points.’
    • ‘The man was summonsed for refusing to pay £150 income tax, the sum the Inland Revenue calculated he owed after he filled out a self-assessment form.’
    • ‘The motorists who this week escaped penalty points had been summonsed for failing to pay fines.’
    • ‘He was also summonsed with being intoxicated in a public place and with using threatening, abusive and insulting behaviour at Hawkins Lane on February 19.’
    • ‘After I registered my case of maintenance at the Magistrates Court several times, my ex-boyfriend never showed up when he was summonsed and the police never arrested him.’
    • ‘I eventually was summonsed to give evidence in court and duly did so, believing this was what should be done in a stand against crime.’
    • ‘Only one in five of those drivers was subsequently summonsed to appear in court.’
    • ‘I summonsed a waiter and reminded him of the coffee and asked if he could also bring some black pepper.’
    • ‘Twenty-one animals were impounded for being on the roads, 71 drivers were summonsed for not wearing safety belts and five drivers were summonsed for talking on their cellular phones while driving.’
    • ‘When Harris was summonsed this was the first official attempt ever to suppress Australian poetry.’
    • ‘Three of those arrested were released but are expected to be summonsed to appear at a later date before Dublin District Court.’
    • ‘And a coroner must decide the scope of the inquiry which is appropriate and the witnesses to be summonsed.’
    • ‘She has been summonsed to appear in court next month on fresh counts of driving without a licence, insurance and MOT as well as failing to produce insurance documents.’
    • ‘Mrs White has been suspended on full pay from her job since July 2002, as soon as the police summonsed her for common assault.’
    • ‘The state of that is that the applicant has been summonsed to appear.’
    • ‘He was summonsed over articles that appeared in Australia and PNG in January expressing concerns over rising crime and the security of his family in PNG.’
    serve with a summons, summon, cite, serve with a citation, serve with a writ, subpoena
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Middle English: from Old French sumunse, from an alteration of Latin summonita, feminine past participle of summonere (see summon).