Urgent Applications are applications which allow the Applicant to approach the Court for immediate relief. The Applicant does not follow the normal court process as they will not be able to obtain adequate relief and will accordingly suffer irreparable harm if they do so. The usual time frames applicable in terms of the Uniform Rules of Court are dispensed with and condoned.
When bringing an Urgent Application, the Applicant must set out in its Founding Affidavit the circumstances and reasons that make the Application urgent and must show the Court that it would not be able to obtain adequate relief/ redress if the usual course is followed. The applicant must also show that it has exhausted all other available remedies before approaching the Court on an Urgent basis.
There are two types of Urgent Applications namely, Ex Parte Urgent Applications (Applications brought without notice) and Urgent Applications brought on notice. We will go through the differences below:
1. Ex Parte Urgent Applications:
Ex Parte applications are applications made by one party or on behalf of one party. They are made in instances where immediate or urgent relief is sought by the Applicant. In these applications the Respondent/ opposing party is not given any notice of the application and it not notified of the hearing date. In these applications, the applicant seeks interim relief from the Court in which the Respondent is not present.
Ex Parte applications are brought where the utmost confidentiality, secrecy or urgency is needed in order to prevent irreparable harm or where giving notice to the other side may hinder the effectiveness of the relief sought.
It is the Applicant’s duty to place all the relevant facts before the Court to enable the Court to have a full overview of the circumstances of the matter, prior to making an order. The Applicant must act in utmost good faith and must disclose all material facts to the Court, failing which, the order may be set aside at a later stage.
The Applicant makes out its case to the Court by way of a Founding Affidavit and the Court makes its order without hearing the Respondent’s version. The Respondent is not given an opportunity to oppose/ respond to the application at this stage. The Respondent is only given an opportunity to respond/ oppose the application once the interim relief is granted and the Court order and Application papers are served on the Respondent.
Given that Ex Parte Applications are interim in nature, the Court’s final order will only be granted once the Respondent’s defence is presented and all the necessary affidavits are filed.
2. Urgent Applications Brought on Notice:
Applications brought on notice are applications in which notice is given to the opposing party/ Respondent. The Applicant serves a complete set of the application papers together with the Court Date on the Respondent. The Respondent is informed of the application and is given adequate opportunity and time to respond or oppose the application by way of a Notice to Oppose and an Opposing Affidavit.
Urgent Applications brought on Notice are brought in instances where notifying the other side of the application will not compromise the effectiveness of the relief sought. The court will consider the arguments and affidavits presented by both the Applicant and Respondent before making a decision and reaching an order.
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6 July 2023