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Ex parte (Latin - for one party) or in modern usage without notice is a legal proceeding taken without giving notice to a person who is likely to be affected by the order being sought by the court. Such orders are commonly sought where giving notice to the affected party would essentially render the order being sought pointless or giving notice to to the other person appears to be impossible in the circumstances. Orders commonly sought ex parte are:

  • A search warrant
  • An Anton Pillar order, allowing the seizure of goods or documents that are likely to be destroyed or removed from the jurisdiction to defeat the legal proceeding
  • A Mareva injunction, preventing a person from removing goods or documents from the jurisdiction
  • An order for a substituted service of legal process where personal service cannot be effected.

In an ex parte proceeding, the court has the duty to act as if they were in the shoes of the opposing party and determine if the party seeking the order is entitled to it. The court must also remember that they have a duty to examine the facts as shown by the party asking for the order.

In most cases, the court will require a full hearing on the matter after the order being sought is executed and the other party has had time to prepare.

Parties seeking ex parte orders are usually under a duty to disclose any facts that are adverse to their request. Failure to do so in any material respect is usually grounds for setting aside the order at a later date.

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