A civil summons is a type of legal document that is typically used to inform a Defendant of the beginning of a legal proceeding that requires their presence in court.  This is often accompanied by a complaint in which the Defendant is required to answer. A civil summons announces a date in which the Defendant must either appear in court and/or answer the complaint.

Though the exact language included in a court summons may vary, these documents typically advise the Defendant to seek legal help in understanding and responding to the summons. Usually a phone number is included, providing the Defendant with a contact number for obtaining more information about the document.  A summons may also include information about the consequences of failing to show up in court or failing to respond as directed.  For example, failure to attend a court hearing could lead to a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff.  This means the Plaintiff could win his/her case simply because the Defendant did not show up or respond.

The type of summons, and party being served, determines whether service is required in-hand or can be left at the last and usual place of abode.  SCCO makes every effort to serve the Defendant in-hand, but in many cases the summons can be left at the last and usual place of abode with a copy mailed the same day via US Post Mail.

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