A summons is a legal document issued by a court (a judicial summons) or by an administrative agency of government (an administrative summons) for various purposes.
A judicial summons is addressed to a defendant in a legal proceeding. A defendant or defender ( Δ in Legal shorthand) is any party who is required to answer the Complaint of a Plaintiff Typically, the summons will announce to the person to whom it is directed that a legal proceeding has been started against that person, and that a file has been started in the court records. The summons announces a date by which the defendant(s) must either appear in court, or respond in writing to the court or the opposing party or parties. The summons is the descendant of the writ of the common law. In Law, a writ is a formal written order issued by a body with administrative or judicial Jurisdiction. Common law refers to law and the corresponding legal system developed through decisions of courts and similar tribunals rather than through legislative statutes or executive In ancient Persian law, if one failed to answer the summons of the King the punishment was death. The Persian Empire was a series of Iranian empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the original Persian homeland and beyond in Western Asia
In England and Wales, the term writ of summons for the originating document in civil proceedings has been replaced with the term Claim Form by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR). History The Roman occupation of Britain was the first period in which the area of present-day England and Wales was administered as a single unit (with the exception This is part of the reforms to simplify legal terminology.
In most U.S. jurisdictions, the service of a summons is in most cases required for the court to have personal jurisdiction over the party who is being "haled" into court involuntarily. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Personal jurisdiction in United States law refers to a court's power over a particular defendant ( In personam jurisdiction or an item of property  The process by which a summons is served is called service of process. Service of process is the procedure employed to give Legal notice to a person (such as a defendant of a Court or administrative body's exercise of The form and content of service in the federal system is governed by Rule 4 the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the rules of many state courts are similar. Civil procedure is the body of law that sets out the process that Courts will follow when hearing cases of a civil nature (a " Civil action " as opposed to The federal summons is usually issued by the clerk of the court. In many states the summons may be issued by an attorney, though some states use filing as the means to commence an action and the summons must be filed in those cases in order to be effective. Other jurisdictions may only require that the summons be filed after it is served on the defendants.
A citation, traffic violation ticket or notice to appear is a type of summons prepared and served at the scene of the occurrence by a law enforcement official, compelling the appearance of a defendant before the local magistrate within a certain period of time to answer for a minor traffic infraction or misdemeanor or other summary offence. Police are agents or agencies usually of the executive, empowered to enforce the law and to effect public and social order through the legitimatized use of force A magistrate is a judicial officer In Common law systems a magistrate usually has limited authority to administer and enforce the Law. A traffic ticket is a citation issued by a Police officer to Motorists who fail to obey traffic laws. A misdemeanor, or misdemeanour, in many common law legal systems is a "lesser" criminal act A summary offense, also known as a petty crime, is a criminal act in some Common law jurisdictions that can be proceeded with summarily without the right Failure to appear within the allotted period of time is a separate crime of failure to appear. Failure to appear is the legal term for the failure of a Defendant or respondent to appear within the stated time before a Tribunal as directed in a Summons
One example of an administrative summons is found in the tax law of the United States. The Internal Revenue Code authorizes the U. The Internal Revenue Code (or IRC; more formally the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended) is the main body of domestic statutory Tax law S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue a summons for a taxpayer—or any person having custody of books of account relating to a business of a taxpayer—to appear before the U. The S. Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate (generally, this means the IRS employee who issued the summons) at the time and place named in the summons.  The person summoned may be required to produce books, papers, records, or other data, and to give testimony under oath before an IRS employee. 
The IRS is also empowered to issue the section 7602 summons for the purpose of "inquiring into any offense connected with the administration or enforcement of the internal revenue laws. "
The summons may be enforced by a court order, and the law provides a criminal penalty of up to one year in prison or a fine, or both, for failure to obey the summons, except that the person summoned may, to the extent applicable, assert a privilege against self incrimination or other evidentiary privileges, if applicable. The Fifth Amendment ( Amendment V) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure