“Ex parte” is a Latin phrase that means “from one party “or “on one side only.” It is pronounced like the letter “X” and then “partay.” In the legal world, it means when only one side, or one person, gets to talk to the judge without the other side being present or even knowing about it. It’s like a private conversation or meeting between one side of a case and the judge.
Normally, in most legal cases, “ex parte” communications are not allowed because both sides should be able to get a chance to present their arguments, evidence, and ideas to the judge. This is because our legal system believes in fairness and that everyone should have a chance to explain their side of the story. This is often referred to as the right to a “fair hearing.”
WHEN IS AN EX PARTE DECISION MADE? But, sometimes, certain situations need immediate action, where there might not be enough time to hear from both sides. In these cases, a judge might make an “ex parte” decision. For example, imagine there’s a situation where someone is in danger and needs immediate protection from another person. The person needing protection might go to a judge and ask for a restraining order right away. Since it was urgent, the judge might decide based on hearing only one side of the story to protect the person in danger. This is an “ex parte” decision. Also, ex parte decisions can happen if one person in a case can’t be found or doesn’t show up to court. If a judge feels there’s enough evidence to make a decision, even without hearing from the missing person, they might make an “ex parte” decision.