Definitions of Judicial Subpoena, Administrative
and Formal Written Request.
An administrative summons or subpoena is a judicially enforceable
for records issued by a government authority which is authorized by some
provision of law to issue such process; administrative process is governed
Act. 12 U.S.C. § 3405.|
Judicial subpoenas are any court order to produce records, other than a
grand jury subpoena, and are governed by the Act. 12 U.S.C. § 3407.
the Act is clear on the point that grand jury subpoenas are excepted, 12
§ 3413(i), one financial institution has argued that grand jury
a form of "judicial subpoena" and therefore subject to the customer notice
challenge requirements of 12 U.S.C. § 3407. The court considering this
argument, however, held that grand jury subpoenas are not "judicial
within the meaning of the Act. In re Subpoena to Testify Before the
Jury Issued to the Commonwealth Nation Bank, Civil Action No. 79-349,
7924, slip op. (M.D. Pa., April 6, 1979).
A formal written request is designed to allow government authorities to
request records in a formal manner. Section 3408 of the Act governs formal
written requests by agency officials. Unlike administrative process, a
written request is not a coercive form of process, therefore a financial
institution may refuse to honor the request. 12 U.S.C. § 3408(2). See
DOJ463 for a suggested form of formal request.