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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Superior Court

What Does Ex Parte Mean?

"Ex parte motions" are court proceedings where not all of the parties in the case were notified ahead of time about a motion.  Usually a judge cannot hear matters ex parte and everyone needs notice.  However, it is sometimes appropriate for the court to decide a motion on an ex parte basis.  For instance, if a defendant was given a fair chance to participate in the case and did not take that opportunity, the plaintiff can ask to win by default through an ex parte motion.  If you ask the judge to decide a motion ex parte, the first thing the judge decides is whether more notice needs to be given to the other parties.  Please review Local Court Rule 7 to find out whether a motion may be brough ex parte. 

"Ex parte" can also mean contacting the judge outside the context of the court hearing or motions that are filed in the court file.  For instance, writing a letter or e-mail to the judge or calling the judge's assistant to leave a message for the judge.  Judges cannot have ex parte communications about a case, even through a third party such as their assistant.  This is because our court system is designed to be open and transparent to the public and the parties.  Ex parte communications are not fair to the other parties.  It can also appear to be inappropriate that a judge is talking to parties in private, no matter what is discussed.

Information on how to present your motion at an ex parte calendar:

Ex Parte at Main Campus

Ex Parte at Family and Juvenile Court

Ex Parte through the Clerk's Office [they will present your motion and order(s) for you]