Instrument used to commence a civil action or special proceeding and is a means of acquiring jurisdiction over a party. In re Dell, 56 Misc.2d 1017, 290 N.Y.S.2d 287, 289.
Writ or process directed to the sheriff or other proper officer, requiring him to notify the person named that an action has been commenced against him in the court from where the process issues, and that he is required to appear, on a day named, and answer the complaint in such action. Upon the filing of the complaint the clerk is required to issue a summons and deliver it for service to the marshal or to a person specially appointed to serve it. Fed.R.Civil P. 4(a).
See also alias summons
In criminal law, an alternative to arrest generally used for petty or traffic offenses; a written order notifying an individual that he or she has been charged with an offense. A summons directs the person to appear in court to answer the charge. It is used primarily in instances of low risk, where the person will not be required to appear at a later date.
See e.g. Fed.R. Crim.P. 4, 9.
Form and content of summons.
The summons shall be signed by the clerk, be under the seal of the court, contain the name of the court and the names of the parties, be directed to the defendant, state the name and address of the plaintiffs attorney, if any, otherwise the plaintiffs address, and the time within which these rules require the defendant to appear and defend, and shall notify him that in case of his failure to do so judgment by default will be rendered against him for the relief demanded in the complaint. When service is made pursuant to a statute or rule of court of a state, the summons, or notice, or order in lieu of summons shall correspond as nearly as may be to that required by the statute or rule. Fed.R.Civil P. 4(b).
For form of summons in criminal cases, see Fed.R.Crim.P. 4, 9.
@ John Doe summons
An order of the court to appear in a proceeding to one whose name is unknown. A description of the person so ordered is required to appear on the summons to satisfy due process requirements
+ John Doe summons
A summons used when the defendant's name is unknown and which is therefore made out to John Doe. After the true name of the defendant is known, it is substituted
@ summons ad respondendum
/samanz xd respondendam/
Process issuing in a civil case at law notifying defendant therein named that he must appear on day designated and thereupon make answer to plaintiffs statement of his cause of action
@ summons and order
In English practice, the summons is the application to a common-law judge at chambers in reference to a pending action, and upon it the judge or master makes the order

Black's law dictionary. . 1990.

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  • summons — sum·mons 1 / sə mənz/ n pl sum·mons·es / mən zəz/: a written notification that one is required to appear in court: as a: a document in a civil suit that is issued by an authorized judicial officer (as a clerk of court) and delivered to a… …   Law dictionary

  • Summons — Sum mons, n.; pl. {Summonses}. [OE. somouns, OF. sumunse, semonse, semonce, F. semonce, semondre to summon, OF. p. p. semons. See {Summon}, v.] 1. The act of summoning; a call by authority, or by the command of a superior, to appear at a place… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • summons — [sum′ənz] n. pl. summonses [ME somounce < Anglo Fr somonse < OFr sumunse < pp. of somondre: see SUMMON] 1. a) an order or command to come, attend, appear, or perform some action b) Law an official order to appear in court, specif. to… …   English World dictionary

  • summons — ► NOUN (pl. summonses) 1) an order to appear in a law court. 2) an act of summoning. ► VERB chiefly Law ▪ serve with a summons …   English terms dictionary

  • Summons — Sum mons, v. t. To summon. [R. or Colloq.] Swift. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Summons — For other uses, see Summons (disambiguation). Legally, a summons (also known in England and Wales as a claim form) is a legal document issued by a court (a judicial summons) or by an administrative agency of government (an administrative summons) …   Wikipedia

  • summons — ▪ I. summons sum‧mons 1 [ˈsʌmənz] noun summonses PLURALFORM [countable] LAW an official order to appear in a court of law: • Administrators of his estate have issued a summons to get him to return to Australia. oˈriginating ˌsummons …   Financial and business terms

  • summons — noun 1 order to go somewhere ADJECTIVE ▪ urgent ▪ royal VERB + SUMMONS ▪ send, send out ▪ await, expect …   Collocations dictionary

  • summons — n. 1) to issue a summons 2) to serve a summons on 3) a summons to + inf. (I received a summons to appear in court) * * * [ sʌmənz] to issue a summons to serve a summons on a summons to + inf. (I received a summons to appear in court) …   Combinatory dictionary

  • summons — summon, summons, call, cite, convoke, convene, muster mean to demand the presence of persons or, by extension, things. Summon implies the exercise of authority or of power; it usually suggests a mandate, an imperative order or bidding, or urgency …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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