Rule 23.4(1) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (“CPR”) provides for the general rule that applications should be served on each respondent. This rule embodies the basic principle that every party should be entitled to an opportunity to be heard and put forward evidence in response to an application.

Rule 23.4(2) provides for the circumstances in which a departure from the general rule is permitted and an application may be made without service of the application notice on the respondent. Such applications are referred to as without notice applications.

There are various provisions within the CPR which allow certain applications may be made without notice. The court may also make an order for permission to make an application without notice.

Without notice applications are generally permitted and used when notice of the application would defeat the purpose of the application and relief sought. By way of example, a freezing injunction sought under CPR 25.1(1)(f) would be meaningless if the respondent was informed of the application and had time to remove assets from the jurisdiction.

Prior to the introduction of the CPR, without notice applications were known as ex parte applications, which described any hearing at which only one party was present.