ex parte

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Ex parte means “from one party” in Latin. 

In the legal context, ex parte is used in several manners around ethics and civil procedure.

Legal Ethics   

In legal ethics, ex parte refers to improper contact with a party or a judge. Ethical rules typically forbid a lawyer from contacting the judge or the opposing party without the other party's lawyer also being present. A breach of these rules is referred to as improper ex parte contact.  

Civil Procedure

In civil procedure, ex parte is used to refer to motions for orders that can be granted without waiting for a response from the other side. Generally, these are orders that are only in place until further hearings can be held, such as a temporary restraining order.   

Typically, a court will be hesitant to make an ex parte motion. This is because the Fifth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee a right to due process, and ex parte motions--due to their exclusion of one party--risk violating the excluded party's right to due process. 

[Last updated in November of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]