The Motion of Ex parte

Ex parte is a Latin term which literally means 'On one side only', that is Done by, for, or on the application of one party alone. It is gotten from the phrase from “one side to a dispute”. Ex parte is a legal term that is used to describe a court proceeding where only one party is present.

According to professional legal standards, it is ethically improper to move a motion without the knowledge of the other party. 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.

In civil litigation procedures, 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.

There is Ex parte motion/application and Ex parte order. 

Ex parte orders are orders made by courts upon the application of a party to litigation and without hearing from the other side while Ex Parte Application is used for one party to ask the Court for an order without providing the other party(ies) the usual amount of notice or opportunity to write an opposition. 

Ex Parte Application is used for one party to ask the Court for an order without providing the other party(ies) the usual amount of notice or opportunity to write an opposition so as to preserve the important things in a case like land or money, as the case may be. For example, where a party is just about to conclude a transaction to sell a land one has the right title to, one can obtain an Ex parte order from a court to prevent such from happening.

It is an application or paper filed in court in an emergency situation and it does not need to be served on an opponent in a suit. It is normally used to obtain an interim order from a court.

Where a motion/application is made ex parte, the Court may make or refuse to make the order sought or may grant an order to show cause why the order sought should not be made or may direct the motion to be made on notice to the parties to be affected thereby.

Ex parte orders are supposed to be temporary and are not to last more than 14 days.

Section 12 (1) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure Rules) 2000 states that “no order made on motion ex parte shall last for more than 14 days…or last for another 14 days after application to vary or discharge it has been argued”.

In other words, ex parte orders are not supposed to last more than 28 days, even if they are extended. This is because, by nature, they are only supposed to be temporary.

Unfortunately, Nigerian courts now generally issue ex parte orders for 90 days and up to 180 days, in the case of an extension.

Whenever a case citation starts with Ex parte, it usually indicates that the decision was made in the absence of one of the parties of the case. 

See: RE: Ex parte application of Tiberius Group AG and Gross, Ex Parte Kingston 3PLR/1871/1 (CA-E)


Ex parte refers to a motion or petition by or for one party. An ex parte judicial proceeding is on where the opposing party has not received notice nor is present. This is an exception to the usual rule of court procedure and due process rights that both parties must be present at any argument before a judge. It is in contrast to the rule that an attorney may not notify a judge without previously notifying the opposition.

Ex parte hearings, petitions, or motions are usually temporary orders, such as a restraining order or temporary custody, pending a formal hearing or an emergency request for a continuance. Most jurisdictions require at least a good faith effort or diligent attempt to notify the opposing party's lawyer of the time and place of any ex parte hearing.

Ex parte communication is a direct or indirect communication on the substance of a pending case without the knowledge, presence, or consent of all parties involved in the matter. Generally, ex parte communication is prohibited in legal proceedings.

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