• What is an Ex Parte Application?
  • An application brought by a litigant in which no notice (warning) of the application is given to the other party” [See Pete, S et al Civil Procedure A Practical Guide 3rd Edition (Oxford University Press Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd 2017) 707].
  • In general, if one wants to make an application to court that might affect the interests of another person, a notice must be given to that person that the application is going to be made.
  • This is for the other person to be afforded a chance to put his or her side of story before the court.
  • Ex Parte Applications may only be brought in exceptional circumstances, in (some) cases, where no one may have an interest in the application, or there may be some compelling reason why it is impossible to give notice of the application to the respondent.


  • Which order can be made in Ex Parte Application?
  • Where no other person has interest in the matter, and the court is satisfied that no other person’s rights will be affected and the papers are in order, the court may grant the order as prayed for.
  • Where there are other persons who may have an interest in the matter and the order is likely to affect them, the court may grant a rule nisi (an order based on condition that it will be absolute unless good cause is shown to the contrary) together with temporary relief.


  • Some of the circumstances on which an Ex Parte Application may be brought:
  • When the applicant is the only person interested in the relief claimed, ie, application for admission as a legal practitioner.
  • When the relief sought is a preliminary step in the proceedings, ie, application for substituted service.
  • When the nature of the relief sought is such that giving notice may defeat the purpose of the application, ie, application to freeze someone’s bank account.
  • When immediate relief is essential because the harm is imminent, ie, an application for an urgent temporary interdict.

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