You can claim certain expenses for travelling to court, and an allowance for meals and lost wages or other financial loss, such as childcare. The amount you can claim will depend on the length of time you have to be away from home or work to go to court. You can claim expenses only up to when the court says you are released.
If you are a prosecution witness, ask the CPS representative or court staff for a claim form when you get to court. If possible, you will be paid five to ten working days after the CPS receive your properly filled-in claim form.
If you are a defence witness, ask the court staff for a claim form. If you need help to fill in the form, ask the Witness Service or a member of the court staff.
In some cases, advance payments can be made for people who cannot afford to travel to court. You should contact the person who asked you to come to court if you need advance payment for travel costs.
Sometimes, people worry about things like whether they will be able to get to the court on time, if they will find a parking space or where to find public transport links. It can all get in the way of them feeling comfortable and confident when the time comes for them to give evidence.
The person who is calling you as a witness should give you practical details when they contact you about the day you are expected to give your evidence.
Ask for any more details you need, such as parking arrangements and charges, or whether any food or drink will be available. You may need to bring cash (including change) to cover costs like car parking and refreshments.
Friends and relatives
Check with the person who asked you to come to court if a friend or relative can come to court with you. In most courts, you do not need to ask permission. However, if you are a witness in a trial at the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court in London), you will have to let the court know in advance for security reasons.
If a friend or relative comes to court with you to keep you company, they will not be able to claim anything back from the court to cover their travelling expenses or money they spend on food while you are there. But if you need someone to come to court with you to help you, for example, to look after your child while you give evidence, or because you need help with your mobility, they may be able to claim expenses such as travel costs.