A Non-Molestation Order prohibits anyone who knows the applicant in some manner from having any contact with them. (Family Law Act, 1996). Such orders are designed to protect a party from any kind of harassment, threats, or violence since they stop the respondent from talking to the applicant or going into the applicant’s house. It is mostly used in cases of domestic violence if the abuse has been going on for a long time.
The judge decides how long an order to not bother someone lasts. It could be made for a certain amount of time or until additional instructions (making it “indefinite”), although the most frequent amount of time is one year.
If you break a non-molestation order, it is a crime and you are in contempt of court.
If you get a “do not bother” order, the court will set a date to hear the case within 14 days. During this period, you will be able to comment and question the order. In this circumstance, it is best to talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
What to do when you have been served with a Non-Molestation Application made against you?
When someone is given a notice of an injunction application for a Non-Molestation Order, it could be an extremely stressful occurrence that makes them feel anxious and hurts their mental health.
The most important question is, among other things, what does the person do to protect himself or herself?
This topic gets harder to answer when children are involved and when the people involved have known each other for a long time. The application for a non-molestation order can be harsher if money and work problems are still being worked out at the same time.
Challenging a Non-Molestation Order
There are two ways to fight a non-molestation order if you think there isn’t enough evidence to back it up. To do this, you can either choose not to fight the order but also not agree to make an undertaking because you don’t believe the applicant’s assertions, or you can fight the order and show that the applicant’s claims are false.
In the second case, it’s vital to think about what kind of evidence will be collected. This could include medical records or police files or witness accounts. The case must be demonstrated with a “balance of probabilities.” This means that if there isn’t enough proof, it would be hard to argue against it.
Even though the order is being contested, it is still in place, thus it is vital to remember that the conditions of the order should still be followed. Even if there is proof against an order, it must still be followed.
If what the Non-Molestation application says is true:
Make your own decision about whether or not the Non-Molestation application is founded on facts. You are the best person to decide if the things that have been said about you are true or not. If the accusations are true and can be confirmed, you may want to make sure you don’t do what is being said about you again. You might think about taking the order, or you might think about offering an Undertaking. Both of these choices are looked at in more depth below. You can still opt to contest the application, but you should think about all the relevant facts and evidence the Court has, as well as the chance that an Order will be made against you because of these circumstances.
If the allegations are FALSE, is the injunction application being used as leverage?
If the allegations are false, you have the option of defending yourself in court. It should be emphasised that contesting a Non-Molestation Application is a complex procedure.
Unfounded application for Non-Molestation to gain leverage?
In a return hearing, it is conceivable (but not certain) that an interim order will be issued against you until a subsequent or final hearing.(s). A temporary order does not always indicate guilt. An interim injunction just indicates that the court deemed it necessary to safeguard the petitioner until the facts are determined and a final decision is rendered.
If it appears that the injunction Non-Molestation order application is being brought to gain leverage over you for whatever reason, you should present the court with these facts and proof. It has been established that Non-Molestation order petitions are occasionally filed to gain leverage in financial procedures, child arrangements, or child contact, or out of pre-existing animosity/jealousy, or all of the above.
If the Non-Molestation order application is being exploited to obtain leverage rather than to provide the necessary protection, you may make this point in your arguments and courtroom statements.
The misuse of injunction order applications is not tolerated by the courts. If the court is persuaded that your ex-partner’s or affiliated person’s request for protection is not genuine, the judge may take this into account.
Will you defend your position against the Non-Molestation (and, if applicable, the Occupation Order Application) or will you not?
You will have to make a hard decision.
If you seek to contest the issuance of such orders, you may be required to submit a defence statement with supporting evidence.
- You may be required to give evidence and arguments supporting your resistance to the application.
- You may also be required to reveal the complete history of your relationship with your ex/connected person.
- Due to the possibility that the opposing side may have counter-evidence, you must be diligent, specific, and cautious in every defence argument. The optimal strategy may consist of sticking to the truth and the evidence that verifies your truth.
- These proceedings frequently hinge on the evidence provided by the application and respondent (you), thus care must be made to discover important material and, if possible, other witnesses who could provide meaningful testimony if the subject continues contested.
- You may choose to dispute or not contest all or a specific claim, and you must specify any orders you will seek as the respondent.
The case might be rescheduled for a hearing when the applicant would submit their case first. After the applicant has presented their evidence, you as the respondent (or your Solicitor/Barrister) must refute each piece of evidence presented by the applicant.
The magistrate / judge will evaluate the facts presented by both parties and decide on the applicant’s requested orders.
If the injunction is obtained against you, you should be informed of its criteria and the repercussions for violating it. As the court sees fit, it may order you to cease your behaviour/conduct/actions/inactions or move in a particular direction. A violation of a court order is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in jail.
Undertakings in Non-Molestation matters
As the respondent to an application, you may desire to avoid a court hearing by agreeing (an Undertaking) to comply with the applicant’s or the court’s recommended conditions.
Please remember that if a person makes a promise, they are not admitting to the claimed past behaviour. They promise not to breach the proposed orders requested by the applicant or the undertaking that the judge may decide appropriate in light of the pertinent circumstances before the court.
The court may not accept an undertaking if it is convinced that there has been violence or a threat of violence, or if it wishes to attach a power of arrest to the order and believes it is essential.
Similar to a court order, undertakings are legally binding.
You must realise that by agreeing to the terms of the undertakings, you do not agree with any of the claims contained in the application.
It is also important to highlight that the effect of the undertakings is identical to that of the court’s final orders.
It is preferable for all parties to negotiate and agree upon commitments, so avoiding the financial and emotional expense of court appearances in the future.
This article/page should not be considered legal advice. If you need further assistance on a Non Molestation Order Application made against you, feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call us on 0203 643 7508 or 07446 888 377 or visit us on www.queensparksolicitors.co.uk.