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Circuit Court Clerk's Office

Communicating with a Judge

"Ex parte" is a Latin phrase meaning "on one side only; by or for one party." An ex parte communication occurs when a party to a case, or someone interested in the case and/or involved with a party, talks or writes to or otherwise communicates directly with the judge about the issues in the case without the other parties' knowledge.

The Rules of the Supreme Court do not permit ex parte communications from any party to a judge. According to Canon 3 B(6) of the Canons of Judicial Conduct for the State of Virginia:
“A judge shall not initiate, permit, or consider ex parte communications, or consider other communications made to the judge outside the presence of the parties concerning a pending or impending proceeding…”

Although you may have information that you want the judge to know about and maybe even keep in confidence, the judge is still required to disclose any ex parte communications to all parties. The rule banning ex parte communications ensures that the court process is fair and that all parties have the same information as the judge who will be deciding the case.

If you want to tell the judge about a case or ask the judge to take a certain action in the case, you should file a written motion with the Clerk’s Office.

Ex-Parte communication is not permitted.