Statutory Witness Law and Legal Definition

A statutory witness refers to a witness that is mentioned in the statute. Some statutes specifically state that a particular number or type of witness is needed in order to validate the procedure. These witnesses are called statutory witness. For example MCLS § 700.2502 provides that for a will to be valid it should be witnessed by at least two individuals. Those two witnesses can be considered statutory witnesses because they are required by statute or law.

Examination of witnesses is a requirement for fair trial. In Criminal cases, the prosecution must list the witnesses they intend to use for trial by preparing a statutory witness list. The list is called a statutory witness list because a state statute requires that list.

When a person attends court as a witness on behalf of the prosecution, upon the request of the prosecuting attorney, upon a subpoena, or because of a recognizance for that purpose; the witness shall be entitled to statutory witness fee. The fee that the witness is entitled to is governed by statute.

For example Michigan statute MCLA § 775.13 (Stat Ann 1971 Cum Supp § 28.1250) fixes the statutory witness fee at $ 12 per day. [People v. Hill, 32 Mich. App. 404, 411 (Mich. Ct. App. 1971)]

The relevant section reads as follows:

MCLS § 775.13 Witness for prosecution; fees; law enforcement officer.

Sec. 13. (1) If a person attends court as a witness in behalf of the prosecution, upon the request of the prosecuting attorney, upon a subpoena, or because of a recognizance for that purpose, the witness shall be entitled to the following fees:

(a) For attending in a court of record, $12.00 for each day and $6.00 for each half day.

(b) For attending in a municipal court or upon an examination, $10.00 for each day and $5.00 for each half day.

(c) For traveling, 10 cents per mile in going to and returning from the place of attendance, estimated from the residence of the witness if within the state and if without the state, from the boundary line of this state which the witness passed in traveling to attend court.

(2) A law enforcement officer shall not receive a fee as a witness in behalf of the people of this state if the law enforcement officer is on duty at the time he or she attends court nor shall the officer receive compensation in going to the place of attendance unless traveling to the court at the officer's own expense.