Ex Parte Court Rulings
The civil process provides courts the option of issuing ex parte case rulings.
A court gains the option to make an ex parte ruling in the event that the plaintiff, despite having been duly informed of the time and location of the court hearing, fails to appear for the process without informing the court of respectable reasons for doing so and doesn’t request the case to be examined in his absence.
In our opinion, ex parte rulings are not an efficient way to deliver justice. The reason is that it renders matters in determining the moment a court ruling goes into legal force more as well as ensuring the defendant’s right to annul said ruling at any moment more difficult.
Here is why it's so tough to determine the moment a ruling will enter into legal force.
The issue is that once an ex parte court ruling is made, the next step is for the court to send it to the defendant, which it must do within a maximum of three days.
Then the defendant has a right within a seven-day period to motion for the ex parte ruling to be annulled after receiving it. If the defendant doesn’t do so, the ex parte ruling will enter into legal force within a month following the time that the court provides the ruling to the defendant.
If the defendant doesn't receive a copy of the ex parte ruling, it will, as the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation explained, enter into legal force after the total duration of the following time periods runs out:
- a three-day period to send a copy of the ruling to the defendant;
- a seven-day period over which the defendant has the right to submit a motion to annul the court-issued ex parte ruling;
- the period of one month that the defendant has to appeal the ex parte ruling via an appeals procedure.
As long as the period for an ex parte ruling to enter into legal force is designed to take on paper, in practice it ends up being even longer still.
- First off, far from all judges issue rulings in their final forms fast enough to send them to the defendant within three days after announcing it.
- Secondly, court administrative desks and expediting services run rather sluggishly, so an ex parte ruling is in many cases delayed being sent to the defendant.
- Thirdly, the court must take into account the period for which this letter is kept at the defendant’s local post office (which is 7 days), who has the right to receive that letter on the last day of the period and then also mail to the court a motion to annul the ex parte ruling.
Thus, a situation may arise in which an ex parte ruling enters into legal force, the plaintiff receives a writ of execution, and then the court receives the motion to annul the ex parte ruling after that, and the process is renewed.
It turns out that a court making an ex parte ruling may have a negative impact on the plaintiff and his ability to receive a writ of execution and have the ruling enforced more quickly. Meanwhile, the defendant may abuse this right, dragging on the appeal of the ex parte ruling for as long as possible.
Nevertheless, the law gives people the option to decline an ex parte court process. To do so, the plaintiff must declare his or her disagreement with an ex parte ruling at the court hearing. Consequently, this will postpone the court hearing actually being issued.
Nevertheless, we believe that it’s preferable for a court to postpone a court hearing several times but issue an ordinary ruling than for it to issue an ex parte ruling.
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