Defending a Non-Molestation Order Application:

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What to do when you have been served with a Non-Molestation Application made against you?

 

  • When a person is served with a notice of an injunction application for a Non-Molestation Order, he or she may find it a very stressful event that would raise anxiety and impact his/her mental health.

  • Amongst other issues, the critical question that arises is: What does the person do to defend himself/herself?

  • This question becomes more complex when children are involved as well as when there is a long history between the connected persons. The Non Molestation order application can be worse where financials and occupation issues are still under progress of resolution at the same time.

 

 

If the allegations in the Non-Molestation application are true:

 

  • Decide for yourself if the Non-Molestation application is based on facts? You are the best judge to know whether the allegations made against you are true or not. If the allegations are real and accurate and can be proven, then you may consider ensuring that you do not repeat the alleged conduct. You may consider accepting the order being made, or you may consider giving an Undertaking. Both these options are explored in detail below. You may still choose to fight the application, but you should consider all relevant facts and evidence available to the Court and the entailing possibility of an Order being made against you in light of this evidence.

If the allegations are FALSE:

Is the Injunction Order Application being used as a Leverage?

  • If the allegations are not true, then you may choose to fight these allegations in the Court.

  • It must be noted that fighting a Non-Molestation Application is an involved process

  • It is possible (not certain) that in a return hearing an interim order may be made against you until further or final hearing order(s).

  • An interim order does not necessarily mean that you are guilty. An interim order only means that the Court decided that there is a need to protect the applicant till the facts are found, and a final judgement is delivered.

Unfounded application for Non-Molestation to gain leverage?

 

If it seems that the injunction Non-Molestation order application is being made to get leverage over you for any reason you should bring these facts and evidence in front of the Court. It has been known that sometimes Non-Molestation order applications are made to get leverage in financial proceedings or children arrangement or/and child contact reasons or out of pre animosity/jealousy or all these.

 

If the Non-Molestation order application is being used to gain leverage rather then the required protection, then you may make this point in your arguments and your statements to the Court.

 

Courts do not like the use of Injunction orders applications in a frivolous fashion. If the Court is convinced that the application by your ex / associated person is not genuine for the need of protection, then the Judge may take serious note of the same.

 

Difficult Decision Point: Will you defend your position against the Non-Molestation (and if applicable then the Occupation Order Application) or not?

 

You will need to make a difficult decision

 

  1. If you wish to oppose the making of such orders, then a detailed defence statement with evidence (s) may be required.  

    1. You may need to present facts and grounds relied upon in the opposition of the application

    2. You may also need to provide the full background of the relationship between you and your ex/ connected person.

    3. In every point of defence, you need to be diligent, detailed and careful as the opposite party may have counter-evidence. The best approach may be to stick to the truth and the evidence that proves your truth.

    4. These matters often come down to the evidence from the applicant and respondent (you) thus proper care should be taken to identify relevant evidence, if possible, any other witnesses who could give relevant evidence if the matter remains contested.

    5. You may elect to contest or not contest all or a particular claim and should set out any orders that you as the respondent will seek.

 

  • The matter may be set for a return hearing with the applicant to present their case first. Once the applicant has set out their evidence, then you as the respondent (or your Solicitor / Barrister) should go about rebutting each part of the applicant’s evidence.

  • The magistrate / Judge will consider both parties’ evidence and decide on the orders sought by the applicant.

  • Should the injunction be granted against you, you should be aware of the requirements of the injunction and the consequences of breaching it.

  • The Court may make an order that you stop your behaviour/conduct/actions/inaction/ a particular direction as the court mat deem fit.

  • A breach of the order of the Court is a criminal offence with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

 

Undertakings in Non-Molestation matters

 

  • As the respondent to an application, you may wish to avoid a court hearing and undertake to comply with the conditions proposed by the applicant or the Court in the application

  • Please do note that if a person makes an undertaking, they do not admit the past alleged behaviour. They undertake not to violate the proposed orders sought by the applicant or the undertaking as the Judge may deem fit in the matter based on the relevant facts on front of the Court.

  • The Court may not accept undertakings where the Court is convinced that there has been violence or a threat of violence, or applications where the Court deems that is necessary and proposes to attach a power of arrest to the order.

  • Undertakings are enforceable as if they were a court order.

  •  You need to understand that in consenting to the undertakings being made, you do not agree with any of the allegations set out in the application.

  • It is equally essential for you to note that the effect of the undertakings is just the same as final orders imposed by the Court.

  • It is preferable for all parties that undertakings be negotiated and agreed upon, thereby avoiding the financial and emotional cost of attending Court on a future date.

  • Nothing in this article/page should be treated as Legal advice.

  • This article is authored by am experienced Paralegal and not by a solicitor. The Author of the article is, as on date, a Fellow Member and a Licensed Paralegal as certified by the National Association of Licensed Paralegals.

 

Non-Molestation Order Question and Answer

What is a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order is an injunction that came into effect through Part four of the Family Law Act 1996. It focuses on curbing domestic violence. It can also include threatening, intimidation, physical assault. It can lead to the prevention of violence against you or your child from your partner or ex-partner.

How is a Non-Molestation Order served?

For serving a Non-Molestation Order, there has to be a Process Server. A Process Server would be serving the court papers and directly delivering them to the concerned person. In some cases, a Process Server might also file a complaint to the police. 

 

How is a Non-Molestation Order delivered?

A Non-Molestation Order has to be directly delivered to the concerned person. It has to contain all the relevant documents.

 A Process Server will officially do it, and the concerned person has to acknowledge the s/he has received it. It is only under these circumstances that the court can enforce the order. The court can punish the person if s/he breaks it when there is a properly acknowledged document.

Does a Non-Molestation Order show on CRB?

CRB refers to the Criminal Record Bureau. A Non-Molestation Order is a civil court order, and it does not directly find a place in the CRB. However, if the concerned person breaches the order, then it becomes a criminal offence. 

Besides that, it is also a punishable offence. The person can get arrested and brought to court. Through this, the CRB will record it as a criminal offence.

How does a Non-Molestation Order work?

Through a Non-Molestation Order, you can restrict your partner/ ex-partner from threatening or harassing you. The abuser will have to maintain a distance from you. 

Similarly, s/he does not have the right to contact you at your home or work. If the person violates the Non-Molestation Order, the police can arrest him or her. 

Is a Non-Molestation Order on the criminal record?

No, the Non-Molestation Order does not appear on the criminal record. However, violation of the same is a punishable offence and will be in the criminal record.

What are the grounds for a Non-Molestation Order?

The Non-Molestation Order comes into effect if you can provide evidence that the person has abused you. It is essential to prove that the person is a threat to you and your children's health and safety. It can deal with physical (emotional) violence or any form of attack through social media, telephone.

How long does it take a Non-Molestation Order to be served?

The Non-Molestation Order has to be served by the opposite party or the court. Non-Mol order becomes effective only after the respondent receives the c Non-Molestatioorder. 

It will contain all the required details and information on the court hearing. It would preferably take place within two to three days. 

The respondent can also serve as a response. However, it is their discretion. The court will decide after looking into the evidence from both sides. 

How does a Non-Molestation Order get served?

The Non-Molestation Order gets served directly. Your solicitor can arrange to serve it to the respondent. Otherwise, you can opt for a Process Server. You would have to pay a fee for their service. 

The Process Server will have to hand it face-to-face to the respondent. It is necessary because the respondent can claim that s/he did not receive it.

Besides that, it is imperative to obtain an acknowledgement from the person. It will act as proof in court. It is through this the court can enforce the order.

Do I have to pay for a Non-Molestation Order?

No, there is no court fee for Non-Molestation Order. However, you will have to pay your solicitor. If you have opted for a Process Server, you will have to provide their fees as well.

Is a Non-Molestation Order a criminal offence?

The Non-Molestation Order is not a criminal offence order, it is an order made under Family Law Act. However, the violation of the order can be a criminal offence and is punishable as a criminal offence. It can lead to a maximum of five years imprisonment. Along with that, the person will have to pay a fine. Through this, it will become a criminal offence.

Who pays for a Non-Molestation Order?

There is no court fee. But, if you have a solicitor and a Process Server, you will have to pay for their services.

When does a Non-Molestation Order take effect?

After the respondent receives the documents, rather it is better said that after the documents are served on the respondent (even if he does not wish to 'receive' it.

 

In this order, the person will also receive information about a court hearing. It may or may not take place within two to three days. The court will look into the evidence, and after the hearing, the court will form a decision. 

Sometimes, the applicant can move their application without providing notice to the respondent. It occurs when it is a matter of urgency.  However, the court will only consider it if you can furnish good reasons for the same. It will be highly beneficial to have supporting documents from your doctor. If there is a police report, you can submit it too. 

The court will look into them and permit for an urgent hearing. However, the court will also conduct a separate hearing for the respondent before making a final decision.

When is a Non-Molestation Order served?

Under conditions of violence and harassment, a person can apply for a Non-Molestation Order. It is when you make an application the Non-Molestation Order has to get served. You can also move this forward without your partner's knowledge.

 

You, your solicitor or your Process Server will have to serve the Non-Molestation Order immediately. It is essential to ensure that the person acknowledges it.

How to get a Non-Molestation Order?

You can apply for a Non-Molestation Order by using the form FL 401. You can obtain it from the family court.  You can always contact us for any help concerning the filing in of FL 401.

Another way to get it is by downloading the form from the website of the Ministry of Justice. You have to fill in the form carefully. It has around ten pages. You can always seek help to complete it.

 Here, you have to provide a witness statement. You have to furnish your relationship details, history of violence, and other information. It is pertinent that you submit its copy to your local police station as well. 

You have to provide a copy to the respondent too. However, you can always apply without the abuser's knowledge. But, you have to furnish justifiable reasons in front of the court while you do so. 

Who serves a Non-Molestation Order?

When it comes to serving a Non-Molestation Order, you or your solicitor can do it. If you can always hire a Process Server.  The Process Server will ensure that the respondent receives the documents and acknowledges them. The Process Server will make sure that the respondent understands that it is an injunction.

Where to send a Non-Molestation Order?

After filling in the form with all the required information, you must submit it to the concerned family court. If it is a domestic violence case, you can always provide it to the Rights of Women. The court will then look into the matter immediately.

What does a Non-Molestation Order include?

Under the Non-Molestation Order, several conditions come to effect. Here, the respondent cannot meet you at your home or workplace. The person does not have the right to connect with you via phone. It is applicable for social media, email, etc.

 

The person cannot be violent or torture you. It includes physical, emotional, or psychological abuse. If the person breaches any of these conditions, it becomes a punishable offence.

Who can serve a Non-Molestation Order?

You or your solicitor can serve the Non-Molestation Order. However, you can always hire a Process Server for that purpose. A Process Server will directly meet with the respondent and provide the notice. However, you will have to pay a fee for their service.

Can a Non-Molestation Order be cancelled?

Since a Non-Molestation Order is a court order, you cannot cancel it under mutual agreement. Suppose the family no longer finds the need for a Non-Molestation Order, they have to apply for its cancellation. 

However, it is beneficial to consider if it is appropriate or not before rushing into a decision to cancel the order.

How to extend a Non-Molestation Order?

There is no limit to extending a Non-Molestation Order. Here, you have to request before the current Non-Molestation Order expires to court for its extension. 

However, if you fail to do so and the Non-Molestation Order expires, you have to make a new application for the same.

Can a Non-Molestation Order be removed?

If you are the respondent, you have the right to challenge the Non-Molestation Order. However, you have to prove that it is baseless and lacks evidence. Apart from that, there is no direct way to remove a Non-Molestation Order. 

The respondent can make an application by using the form FL 403 to challenge the Non-Molestation Order. It is part of Section 49 (1) of the Family Law.

Who can apply for a Non-Molestation Order?

Any partner can apply for a Non-Molestation Order if s/he is facing violence. It can be against their fiance, ex-fiance, spouse, or ex-spouse.

It could be against the father or mother of your child. You can apply it against a person with whom you are living. It can also be towards someone with whom you have an intimate relationship. 

However, it is imperative to have evidence to prove yourself in front of the court. It is applicable for both same-sex or mixed-sex partners.

Will a Non-Molestation Order show up on a DBS check?

 Disclosure and Barring Service can conduct basic and enhanced criminal checks on a person. It will focus on an individual's criminal convictions. However, a Non-Molestation Order is only a court order from a family court and not a criminal offence. 

Since a Non-Molestation Order is not a criminal conviction, it will not appear in a basic or standard DBS check. However, if a person breaches the Non-Molestation Order, it can become a criminal offence.

Can a Non-Molestation Order be Extended?

Yes, a person can extend a Non-Molestation Order. There is no limit to extending this order.

Is a Non-Molestation Order serious?

Yes. If you receive a Non-Molestation Order, you have to consider it with all due seriousness. It is a court order, and you have to obey it. If you violate it, it becomes a punishable offence. A person can receive five years imprisonment and also a fine for breaching a court order.

Where do I send my Non-Molestation Order?

You have to fill in the application for Non-Molestation Order. Then, you have to send it to the Family Court. You do not have to pay a court fee while applying for the Non-Molestation Order.

What is a Non-Molestation Order without notice?

A person can apply for a Non-Molestation Order without notice. Here, the person will have to provide sufficient information to prove its urgency. You can facilitate supporting documents, which can include reports from a doctor or the police.

 Here, the court will conduct a separate hearing for the respondent, where s/he will receive the opportunity to present their evidence.

Is a Non-Molestation Order permanent?

No, a Non-Molestation Order is not permanent. The court often grants it for six to twelve months. However, under some circumstances, the court can provide it for a long period. 

If the person thinks that s/he requires legal protection for an extended time, s/he can request for extension. The person has to do this before its expiration. If it expires, the person needs to provide a new application.

 

Who issues a Non-Molestation Order?

A Non-Molestation Order is a civil order a person obtains when s/he applies using the form FL 401. After conducting a hearing and looking into the evidence, the magistrate or the judge of the concerned family court furnishes this order.

Can a Non-Molestation Order be renewed?

Yes, you can renew or extend a Non-Molestation Order before its duration ends. You have to do so if you find that you require legal protection from your partner or ex-partner.

Non Molestation Order