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What is a non-molestation order?
A Non-Molestation Order protects the person applying for the Order from violence, intimidation, harassment and communication from the Respondent (the person who the Order is against).
The Order can also prevent the Respondent from coming within a certain distance of the Applicant's home as well as instructing a third person to do anything that the Respondent is forbidden from doing.
The Application is usually made ex-parte, which means that the Respondent doesn't know that the Order is being applied for. They only become aware of it when the Order has been made and they are served with the Order.
New guidance has been issued to state that there must be a fixed end date to the Order. The Order must specify on its face and in clear terms precisely when it expires.
The Order must also fix a return date. The Order must specify the date, time and place of the hearing on the return date which should be no more than 14 days after the Non-Molestation Order was made. The Respondent has the opportunity to attend the return date and put their position forward to the Court.
The Respondent can accept the Order. It will then remain in place until the expiry date or they can offer an Undertaking in place of the Order which is a legally binding promise to the Court. Finally, the Respondent has the option to contact when the Order was made.
In many cases the on-notice hearing is listed within 14 days of the Order being made.
In cases involving personal protection, such as Non-Molestation Orders these Orders tend to be for six or 12 months. A period of 12 months is likely to be appropriate where the allegation is of long term abuse.
A period shorter than six months may be appropriate in a case where there appears to be a one-off problem that may subside in a short time rather than prolonged abuse that has occurred a number of times.
At Ramsdens we provide help and advice for both Applicant's and Respondent's in Non-Molestation Order proceedings. We offer urgent same day appointments to client's who require support following incidents of domestic violence. Legal Aid is also available for Applicant's in Non-Molestation Order proceedings if financially eligible.