Witness expenses

Most witnesses will be entitled to meal expenses when they go to court to give evidence. Other expenses you might be able to claim are travel, accommodation, and, if you have to take time off work, ‘attendance’. If you have children in your care and your family and friends can’t look after them, you might also be able to claim childcare costs.

The NSW Department of Justice sets the rates for witness expenses. You can ask the ODPP prosecutor or your WAS officer any questions you have about them.

 

Meals

You can claim an allowance for every meal you have while you are at the court house to give your evidence, or travelling to and from court. There is no need to keep receipts, you are paid a set rate for each meal.

If you have to stay overnight to give evidence, you can claim an allowance that includes both your meals and accommodation (see Accommodation plus meals below).

Travel

You can claim the actual cost of travelling by public transport to court and home again. Keep your tickets or receipts. If you use an Opal card your statement can be your record of your trip.

If you can’t easily get to court by public transport, you can travel in your own vehicle and claim an amount for every kilometre you have to drive. If there is no public transport available and you don’t have a car, talk to the ODPP prosecutor or your WAS officer about whether you should hire one.

If you need to travel by air, make sure you tell the ODPP prosecutor or your WAS officer as soon as possible. It’s important not to organise your own air travel unless you have written approval to do so.

Accommodation plus meals

If you need to stay overnight to attend court, you can claim a ‘daily’ (24-hour) allowance to cover your accommodation and meals. If you have to be away for more than 24 hours, you can claim an extra payment for each extra hour.

You can choose your own accommodation, but just remember the allowance is the same no matter where you stay.

Let the police officer in charge (OIC), the ODPP prosecutor or your WAS officer know if you are having difficulty finding or booking accommodation, including if want to stay somewhere that you need a credit card to book and you don’t have one.

You can claim the daily allowance for accommodation plus meals even if you stay with family and friends, provided you have to be away overnight to be able to get to court on time.

Attendance

You can claim an ‘attendance’ allowance if you lose wages or income when you go to court to give evidence, and you have written proof of this. The allowance is a contribution only, it won’t cover what most witnesses would normally earn in the time.

You can claim a half-day allowance if you are at court for up to four hours, and a full-day allowance if you are there for four hours or more.

If you are an employee, you will need a letter from your employer as proof of lost wages. If you are a contractor or self-employed you will need to sign a statutory declaration stating you have lost income from going to court. Talk to the ODPP prosecutor or your WAS officer about making an attendance claim.