"Ex parte Motions" are judicial proceedings that are conducted without notice to all of the parties on the case.  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.  In most situations, though, all of the parties have to be notified about contact with the court and need to be given opportunity to respond.

"Ex parte" can also mean contacting the Judge outside the context of the court hearing or papers 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 on the other parties.  It can also appear to be inappropriate that a Judge is talking to parties in private, no matter what is discussed.


The civil ex parte calendar is held on: 

Superior Court

Main Courthouse Complex

             M - F:  1:00



The ex parte calendar accommodates several types of motions, including motions related to unlawful detainer matters (evictions), defaults, garnishments, service of process, agreed orders, temporary restraining orders, waiver of filing fees, and other matters that are properly ex parte.  Please note that some matters, even if agreed, must be set for a hearing to be presented to the assigned Judge.


Some ex parte matters must be presented in another way:

  • Emergency Motions and Motions to Stay (stop) an eviction can be heard on the ex parte calendar.

  • Criminal ex parte calendars are heard at the Main Campus Courthouse on Mondays at 8:10 a.m. and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 4:30 p.m.  You do not need to schedule the hearing ahead of time, just walk into the courtroom promptly at the start of the calendar.  This calendar is only for criminal ex parte motions, except for protected parties' motions regarding criminal domestic violence orders which are heard on the civil ex parte motion calendar.

  • Family Law and Juvenile Court Motions must be heard at the Family & Juvenile Court.  Please review that schedule here.

  • Presentations of Orders Based on a Judge's Ruling.  The Judge who made the ruling needs to sign the order. If the matter is complicated or the parties disagree about the order, schedule a presentation hearing on the Judge's calendar.  If the matter is straightforward and the parties agree on the order, you can present the order to the Judge at the beginning of his or her civil motion calendar without scheduling a hearing first.

  • Continuances of Trial Date or Major Deadline.  The Court requires motions to continue trials and other major deadlines to be scheduled before the assigned Judge.  This is true even if the parties agree on the continuance. Please review Local Court Rule 40(b)(7) for more detailed information.

  • Voluntary Dismissals and Agreed Orders.  These motions can be presented before the assigned Judge's civil motion calendar or before the unlawful detainer calendar, depending on the type of case.  You can also present these on the ex parte calendar.

What to Expect on the Ex Parte Calendar:

  • You do not need to schedule your hearing ahead of time or submit Judge's copies. You can simply walk into the courtroom with your paperwork.

  • Please arrive promptly at the beginning of the calendar.

  • Check in with the clerk in the courtroom when you arrive.

If you have not filed your case yet, you can come to the ex parte courtroom with your paperwork (including your summons and complaint).  The Court may be able to rule on your motion and then give the paperwork to the clerk to file it all at once.



As an alternative to presenting an ex parte matter in person, you may mail the matter to the Clerk's Office and request the matter be presented for Judge's signature, pursuant to LCR 79(a) and RCW 36.18.016(10).  The fee for ex parte is $30.00.  The clerk will pull the file, present the documents to the Judge, conform copies and return them to the moving party (please enclose SASE).  RCW 36.18.016(10); LCR 79(a).  The $30.00 processing fee is charged even if the order is not signed.  This fee is subject to change.  Please check the Clerk's Office website for updates prior to sending in your fees. If you are in a hurry for a ruling, it is best to present the motion in person on the ex parte calendar, as the processing of mail-in ex parte orders can take a few days.