Preparing for a Tribal Hearing or Trial

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Filing Documents

When filing a document with the Court three (3) copies must be provided: one for filing (court copy) and the other two copies are endorsed for the opposing party and filing party. Any document filed must be delivered either by mail, facsimile or in person to the opposing party prior to the hearing.


In order to have a witness testify at a trial or hearing the party must file a Witness List giving notice to the Court and the opposing party.  The opposing party has the right to interview witnesses before the trial/hearing.  Parties must notify their witness of the date and time of the hearing.  As of July 1, 2013 the Court no longer serves parties or witnesses with Notices of Hearing or pleadings.


If a party plans to present evidence at a trial or hearing an Exhibit List must be filed giving notice to the Court and opposing party.  The opposing party has the right to view any evidence prior to the trial or hearing.


A party may request that a judge sign a Subpoena ordering a witness to appear in court. The subpoena is an enforceable court order that the requesting-party must personally serve to the witness. The Return of Service must also be completed and filed with the Court. Service must be made at least (14) days prior to the hearing for proper notice. If the witness does not appear and was properly served either party may request a bench warrant or to have the person picked up and brought court.

How to Obtain a Subpoena

Parties should only subpoena a witness who is not willing to attend court or when a witness needs proof that his or her attendance is required. Follow the steps below to request a subpoena:

  1. Complete the subpoena form and provide all information requested.
  2. Submit two (2) copies of the subpoena for a judge’s signature. One copy is served to the person and the other copy is retained by the filing-party.
  3. After the Clerk imprints the Court’s embossed seal on both copies of the subpoena it is ready to be served. Subpoenas must be served at least fourteen (14) days before the hearing.
  4. A person who is not a party in the case must personally-serve the subpoena or send it by certified mail to the witness’ current address. The witness does not need to sign any document for proper service.
  5. Make sure that the person who served the witness completes the Return of Service on the back of the subpoena. The subpoena is not valid unless this is completed.
  6. File a copy of the Return of Service with the Isleta Tribal Court.