Court Cases - Ex Parte

The processes below have been updated to current operations during the COVID-19 response.


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.

"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.

Below is information on how to present your motion at an ex parte calendar.

Superior Court Main Campus


How do I present a civil motion ex parte?  There are two options:

      1.  By Mail:  You can mail or deliver your motion to the Clerk's Office and a judge will review it in their office.  Do not use this method if you are in a hurry.  Send to the Clerk's Office: 

            a.  $30 per order,

            b.  the paperwork (motion and proposed order) that you want the judge to review,

            c.  a second copy of the order that you want mailed back to you, and

            d.  a self-addressed stamped envelope. 

      2.  MC Civil Ex Parte Telephonic Matters English and Spanish

How do I present a motion for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in a civil case that is not family law?

Requests to modify or rescind an existing no-contact order in a Thurston County Superior Court criminal case may be set for a telephonic hearing by a judicial officer upon a showing of an emergency in addition to other applicable criteria. Protected persons may call the MC Civil Emergency telephone number, (360) 968-0921, between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, to request modification or rescission of the no-contact order. Before calling the ex parte number to make a request, you must file in the court file, a motion (request), a declaration (a signed statement) showing your reasons for the request, and a proposed order. If the judicial officer sets a hearing based upon the emergency request, it will be set on a Wednesday or Thursday. Instruction in Spanish can be found here.

Unlawful Detainer

For information regarding Unlawful Detainer Ex Parte please see Memo Regarding Unlawful Detainer  UPDATED 09/03/2021