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Legal Dictionary

ex parte

Legal Definition of ex parte

Etymology

    Latin Origin

Adjective

  1. For one party only. Ex parte refers to those proceedings where one of the parties has not received notice and, therefore, is neither present nor represented. If a person received notice of a hearing and chose not to attend, then the hearing would not be called ex parte. Some jurisdictions expand the definition to include any proceeding that goes undefended, even though proper notice has been given.

Alternative forms


Definition of ex parte

Etymology

    From Latin "from [one] part"

Adjective

ex parte (not comparable)

  1. (law) Of, relating to, or characteristic of a proceeding where one of the involved parties is not present.

    The judge issued a temporary ex parte injunction.

Adverb

ex parte (not comparable)

  1. (law) In the manner of a proceeding where one of the involved parities is not, (or sometimes may not be) present

    Grand juries are conducted ex parte; neither the suspect nor his attorney may attend.

Further reading

Ex parte is a Latin legal term meaning "from (by or for) one party" (pronounced /ɛks ˈpɑrteɪ/ or /ɛks ˈpɑrti/ in English). An ex parte decision is one decided by a judge without requiring all of the parties to the controversy to be present. In Australian, Canadian, U.K., India, U.S. legal doctrines, ex parte means a legal proceeding brought by one person in the absence of and without representation or notification of other parties. It is also used more loosely to refer to improper unilateral contacts with a court, arbitrator or represented party without notice to the other party or counsel for that party.

United States

In the United States, the availability of ex parte orders or decrees from both federal and state courts is sharply limited by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which provide that a person shall not be deprived of any interest in liberty or property without due process of law. In practice this has been interpreted to require adequate notice of the request for judicial relief and an opportunity to be heard concerning the merits of such relief. A court order issued on the basis of an ex parte proceeding, therefore, will necessarily be temporary and interim in nature, and the person(s) affected by the order must be given an opportunity to contest the appropriateness of the order before it can be made permanent.

The phrase has also traditionally been used in the captions of petitions for the writ of habeas corpus, which were (and in some jurisdictions, still are) styled as "Ex parte Doe", where Doe was the name of the petitioner who was alleged to be wrongfully held. As the Supreme Court's description of nineteenth century practice in Ex parte Milligan shows, however, such proceedings were not ex parte in any significant sense. The prisoner's ex parte application sought only an order requiring the person holding the prisoner to appear before the court to justify the prisoner's detention; no order requiring the freeing of a prisoner could be given until after the jailer was given the opportunity to contest the prisoner's claims at a hearing on the merits.

References:

  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.



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