Court Citations (aka “Complaints” , “Charge Sheets”, “Court Summons”

What is a citation?

Citation / Summons FAQ

A: Not necessarily. If you are pleading not guilty then we can appear on your behalf at the first calling of the case (Pleading Diet). You must instruct us to do this in good time.
A: If you do not respond to the citation by the date stated, then a warrant may be issued for your arrest. Therefore it is essential that you treat a court citation with the utmost urgency. Do not bury your head in the sand like an ostrich!. Contact us without delay.
A: If you are unemployed, and the matter is not relatively minor, you will normally be eligible for Legal Aid. If you are in employment then it will depend on your financial situation. We can discuss Legal Aid with you at an initial free consultation.

A citation is a formal document that is used to serve a legal document, and will usually inform the person who is cited to attend court, either as a witness or as an accused.

If you have you received a citation to attend court as a witness, this will either be from the procurator fiscal or the defence lawyers for the accused. (Citations are also used in civil matters, and are dealt with elsewhere on this website). If you have been cited as a witness it will usually be to attend court on a stated date and time to give evidence at a trial. You must attend, and if there is any reason you are unable to attend you should contact whoever cited you, which will either be the procurator fiscal or the defence solicitors.

CItation – method of service

A citation can be received by post, delivered by the police or sheriff officers.

Failure to attend court may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest.

A citation which contains a further document called a Complaint is served on a person who is required to court to answer criminal charges. This will come from the Procurator Fiscal’s Office with a date and time when you are required to answer the charge or charges made against you.

The citation will tell you what court to appear at, the date and time of the hearing, known as a Pleading Diet. The Complaint will provide details of the charge and a brief summary of the alleged incident. You must answer the charge or charges by the date noted on the citation.

Have you received a citation? Call us before doing anything.


We recommend that you do not complete paperwork yourself, contact our Criminal Solicitors first. You can send us the paperwork by post, email or even Whatsapp! You do not need to complete the paperwork yourself or send it to the court.

We are experienced in all areas of criminal law and can be contacted on any of the numbers stated on this website for a free initial consultation.