If you have been the victim of domestic abuse, you can apply for a ‘Non-Molestation Order’. This is an injunction in the form of a Court Order that protects you or your child from being harmed or threatened by the person who has abused you.
Legal Aid is available to anyone who needs to apply for a Non-Molestation Order, however you will be subject to a Means Assessment which will determine whether or not you will need to pay a contribution, as Legal Aid is not always free.
If a Non-Molestation Order is breached, then the person named can be arrested and, if convicted, can face a prison sentence of up to 5 years.
In order to apply for a Non-Molestation Order you must:
- Check if you are eligible;
- Either you or your solicitor must fill in application form FL401 and make 2 copies;
- Write a witness statement explaining what has happened and why you need a Non-Molestation Order ending in a statement of truth which is signed and dated;
- Fill out form C8 if you want to keep your contact details private from the person you are seeking the injunction against
- Email or post the documents to the Court. There is no fee.
If you need protection immediately, then you must state on the application that you are asking for an emergency Order. You do not need to tell the person you are seeking the injunction against but will have to explain to the Court why this is necessary. This is known as a ‘without notice’ or ‘ex parte’ application. The Court will then hold an emergency Hearing soon after you make the application, and you must attend as an emergency Non Molestation Order may be made at the Hearing. The emergency Order usually lasts until the next Hearing where the Court will decide whether it should continue. Once the Order has been issued, the person who you are seeking the injunction against will need to be served with the Court papers and the Non-Molestation Order. The Court will usually list a Hearing quite quickly after a ‘without notice’ Non-Molestation Order has been made.
You will be eligible to apply for a Non-Molestation Order if the person you need protection from is:
- Someone you’re having or have had a relationship with;
- A family member;
- Someone you’re living with or have lived with.
And the person you need protection from must be your:
- Husband, wife or civil partner;
- Former husband, former wife or former civil partner;
- Fiancé, financée or proposed civil partner;
- Former fiancé, former fiancée or former proposed civil partner – if your engagement or agreement to form a civil partnership ended less than 3 years ago;
- Boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or a person you’re in or have been in an intimate relationship with for a significant duration (usually defined as more than 6 months); or
- Close family member such as a parent, brother, sister, aunt or uncle.
If your application is made ‘on notice’, once you have submitted the application, the Court will send you a ‘Notice of Proceedings’ which will tell you when your Hearing date is. They will also send you a sealed copy of your application. You or your solicitor must then arrange for this and the witness statement to be served on the person named in the application. The papers are usually served by someone independent like a process server. If you are doing this yourself, then you must fill in form D89. There is no fee for this form. Never serve the documents yourself.
At the Court Hearing, the Judge may make one of the following decisions:
- The person you’ve applied for an injunction against must make an ‘undertaking’ (a promise) to do or not do something. This promise is legally binding;
- The Court may ask for more information and may issue a short-term order to protect you whilst you get this information (an ‘interim order’); or
- They will issue a final order which will have an end date.
If the order expires and you still want protection, you will have to re-apply but the Court will need to be satisfied that there are grounds to renew the Non-Molestation Order.
Once you receive the final Order, you or your solicitor will need to ensure that these are served on the person named in the Order. The Non-Molestation Order only becomes effective once it is served or the person named into the Order becomes aware of it. The Court can give permission for a Non-Molestation Order to be served via email or even whatsapp, particularly if there is no known address of the person you are seeking protection from. If you do not have a solicitor, you must fill out form D89. Never serve the documents yourself. The Court will also send a copy of the Order to your local police station. If the Non-Molestation Order is breached, you can call the police.
The Children and Domestic Abuse team here at Brethertons LLP are here to answer any questions that you may have about Non-Molestation Orders or any issues relating to domestic abuse. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01788 579579 or 01295 270999 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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