ex parte | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Introduction

An ex parte hearing is a proceeding brought before a court by one party only, without notice to or challenge by the other side.

An ex parte hearing is a legal proceeding where one party requests a court order without giving notice to or allowing participation by the other party. This type of hearing is used in cases where the requesting party needs immediate relief, such as in cases involving emergency injunctions or restraining orders. An ex-parte hearing can be a powerful tool for seeking relief, but it must be used carefully and appropriately to avoid violating the rights of the other party.

Ex-parte hearings are typically held in civil cases, such as those involving family law, employment law, or contract disputes. In some cases, ex parte hearings may also be used in criminal cases, such as for the issuance of search warrants or the appointment of counsel for indigent defendants.

The purpose of such a hearing is to provide an expedited means of obtaining temporary relief when there is a risk of irreparable harm or other urgent circumstances. For example, in a domestic violence case, a victim may seek an ex parte restraining order to protect themselves from immediate danger.

The requesting party must demonstrate to the court that immediate relief is necessary and that waiting for a regular hearing with notice to the other party would cause irreparable harm. The court will then consider the request and may issue an order granting temporary relief.

It is important to note that this type of hearing is not a substitute for a regular hearing with notice to both parties. After an ex-parte hearing, the other party will have an opportunity to challenge the order at a later date. The requesting party must also provide notice to the other party as soon as possible after the ex parte hearing and provide them with an opportunity to be heard.

Ex-parte hearings can be controversial because they can be seen as unfair to the other party, who may not have had an opportunity to present their case or challenge the order. However, ex parte hearings can be a necessary tool in certain situations, such as when there is a risk of immediate harm or danger.

To ensure that these hearings are used appropriately, courts require strict adherence to procedural rules and ethical guidelines. The requesting party must provide a sworn statement outlining the reasons for the request and the evidence supporting it. The judge must also carefully review the request and ensure that it meets the legal requirements for an ex parte hearing.

In addition, the requesting party has a duty to disclose any information that may be relevant to the court’s decision, even if it is unfavorable to their case. Failure to disclose relevant information can result in the order being overturned or sanctions being imposed.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/19/2023

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