So I'm called as a witness

I got a summons to appear in court as an expert witness. Problem is the court is on the other end/side of the island and I have to fly down there the day before if I want to arrive on time.
How do I go about recouping my travel expenses, and what are the caps (if any) on those expenses?


Probably a free biendang. Maybe two, if the hearing goes over time.

Has the government / prosecution summonsed you? If it’s an individual, he should be paying your costs. If he doesn’t tell him you will magically become a hostile witness against him and stitch him up a treat. Unless his tats are particularly intimidating.

I found out I can claim very minimal expenses from the court, like a train ticket from where I live, and a little (like NT$500) extra for incidentals. I’m just going to have to tap the plaintiff for the difference.
Thanks guys.

Who called you as a witness? The Court? As per my knowledge, we (our client) always pay the costs for anyone who we ask to give testimony.

“Warning, Warning Dr. Smith”, or in this case Dr. Hsiadogah (line stolen from old 60’s sci-fi show Lost in Space).

First, attorneys in Taiwan do not have the authority to issue summons or subpoenas. (it is not like the U.S.). By odd coincidence all last week in all my classes we were right on this topic.

So if you got a “real” summons (beware of imitations, that is not a joke, many local attorneys will send out what appear to be official summons but are in fact nothing more than “invitations” ) it had to be issued by a prosecutor or the judge. In either one of those events make sure before you bother booking a flight/hotel that you are going to get paid and that they really need you and that they need you enough to compel your attendance if you are not disposed to “volunteer” your time.

I find it very, very odd that you are being summoned to appear in person as an expert. None of my judge students have ever called an expert in to talk/testify/chat (in Taiwan those three things are the same) in person. What is normal is for the judge to call you (ring you up in U.K-talk) and discuss the matter over the phone. If they need something written from you or want you to look at some physical thing that is usually done via postal mail or messenger. The same is equally true for my prosecutor students; their experts testify over the phone or via email. Shit the cops don’t even bother coming to court, why should an esteemed expert.

If you simply want to have an adventure on some other part of Formosa then sure just go when and where the summons says and see how things unfold. But if you do not have time or the inclination to mess with it then give whoever sent you this summons a call and tell them you need other arrangements made. Be firm with them that you are not at their beck and call. Also remember cash in advance and never believe “oh you will get paid after you fill out the forms”. That ranks right in their with such other famous assurances as: the check is in the mail and I wont cum in your mouth.

Good luck on your court adventure.
Brian the Process Server

I can’t add anything to what Biran stated above. But, I can say that I agree totally with him.

And again, whenever we (on behalf of a client) request an expert witness, the client always compensates the witness for his expenses.

:laughing: Thanks Brian. I have been here long enough to know when my chain’s being yanked, and that ‘I won’t come in your mouth’ story? I invented it :wink:

Yes, it’s an official bona fide court summons. A phone call confirmed that. I did agree to testify in this case so I wasn’t too suprised to get summoned. I was hoping we could do a telephone deposition, but that’s not what they requested. It doesn’t bother me a whole lot one way or another if I get my full expenses taken care of or not, I just wanted to know what to expect from the court. Call me a sucker but I feel sorry for the plaintiff and want to help him out.
Tigerman, I will certainly remind the plaintiff what the defacto standard of compensation is. Thanks.

what is your area of expertise h? just curious.

The prosecutor issued a notice to the effect that they won’t press charges in this case. Reading through their decision I notice I’m quoted badly out of context, placed at the scene when I wasn’t even there, and many important points raised by myself and other witnesses were completely ignored.
After I gave testimony to the prosecutor we were asked to sign a transcript of our session, though we weren’t given a copy. Is it possible to get a copy now from the prosecutor’s office?

Hi Hsiadogah,
Uh, welcome to the world of “Taiwanese Civil Servant Prosecutors”. Although I love my dear prosecutor and judge students very much as people, I am often stunned, absolutely stunned, by the poor quality of their “investigations” and the “deranged” quality of their “thinking”. Oftentimes they will say things to me that literally stops me dead in my tracks while my jaw drops open.

To answer you question, I actually think they are NOT under any legal obligation to give you a copy. Now since the law means nothing here, my answer means nothing…so it comes down to simply try. And in that regard let me give a small bit of tactical advice; send a written request and register the letter.

Taiwan, bless its heart, really is a fucking basket case.

take care,
President of the Taiwanese Boosters Club (Goooooo, Taiwan)

Thanks Brian. My feeling is that the results of this investigation are heavily skewed in favor of the dependants. After all, they are involved in an activity funded by tens of millions of dollars of public funds and supported by the county government. OTOH the plaintiff merely lost his only son…
So I get the feeling that if the testimony that favors the plaintiff’s position is being supressed, then the full transcripts aren’t very likely to be made available unless there’s a law that compels the prosecutor’s office to do so. And quite likely not even then.

Of course I could just be paranoid. :wink: