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 Words of Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law.

Today’s phrase is ex parte.

Ex parte (x-par-tay) A term meaning for one party in a lawsuit.  Generally court procedure requires the opposing party to be notified and for both parties to be present for court hearings.  Ex parte matters are often for temporary or emergency orders, and the judge issues a ruling based upon the submission of one party.

Ex parte, adj. “Done or made at the instance of and for the benefit of one party only, and without notice to, or argument by, anyone having an adverse interest; of, relating to , or involving court action taken or received by one party without notice to the other, usually for temporary or emergency relief <an ex parte hearing> <an ex parte injunction>. • Despite the traditional one-sidedness of ex parte matters, some courts now require notice to the opposition before what they call an ‘ex parte hearing.’ – Sometimes spelled exparte.”

adv. (eks pahr– tee) Latin “from the part.”   On or from one party only, usually without notice to or argument from the adverse party <the judge conducted the hearing ex parte>.

Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th ed., Bryan A. Garner, Editor in Chief, Thomson Reuters, 2014.

Ex parte adj. or adv. on or from one side only– used for such legal matters as injunctions, commissions or hearings, and testimony and ordinarily implying a hearing or examination in the presence of or on papers filed by one party and in the absence of and often without notice to the other party.”

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Unabridged, Philip Babcock Gove, Editor in Chief, Merriam Webster, 1981.



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