Domestic Violence Injunctions

October 2012

The Law on Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders

The Family Law Act 1996 outlines the law in relation to Non-Molestation Orders and Occupation Orders and details the powers of the Courts to protect victims of domestic violence from harm within a relationship or from an associated person.

A “Non-Molestation Order” is an Order preventing a Respondent from molesting the Applicant and any relevant child. The term ‘molesting’ is broadly defined and covers violence and/or threats of violence, as well pestering and physical and verbal abuse. As a result, a wide range of behaviours can be deemed to be evidence of molestation and cases are determined on a case by case basis.   

An “Occupation Order” is an Order regulating the occupation of a property and can be obtained to exclude a Respondent from a property for the protection of the Applicant or relevant child or to control the occupation of that property.

The law in relation to such applications is complex and the Court will only award such Orders if a stringent criteria and the correct procedure is met. That said, the Courts do realise the need of domestic violence victims for protection from harm and are willing to make such Orders to ensure their protection.

Applications under the Family Law Act 1996 can be made either “Without Notice”  (also known as “Ex-Parte”) or “With Notice” depending upon the urgency upon which the protection is required. A “Without Notice” Application is made without notice to a Respondent and the Applicant simply attends Court with their application and supporting evidence and asks the Judge to make the relevant Order. If granted, the Order is personally served upon the Respondent and he or she is given the opportunity to attend a Return Hearing to have their views heard. A “With Notice” Application is made with notice to a Respondent and is where both parties attend Court to allow a Judge to determine whether the Order being sought is relevant.     

If you require further information regarding the law on domestic violence or wish to speak to a member of our team about such applications, please contact Lorna Barry on 01296 318500.