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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

14 OCT 2014

Omnibuses of Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders

Omnibuses of Non-Molestation and Occupation Orders
Yesterday, the President of the Family Division Sir James Munby released Practice Guidance relating to the duration of ex parte (without notice) orders: Practice Guidance: Family Court – Duration of Ex Parte (Without Notice) Orders.

The guidance confirms that there must be a fixed end date to such orders and that the practice of granting any ex parte injunctive order in the Family Court or in the Family Division for an unlimited time must stop. The Practice Guidance can be found here.

The guidance examines the relevant case-law and sets out certain principles that must be complied with. In summary:
  1. An ex parte (without notice) injunctive order must never be made without limit of time and there must be a fixed end date.
  2. The order must not merely specify a return day but must say in clear terms precisely when it expires.
  3. The duration of the order should not normally exceed 14 days.
  4. The order must also specify the date, time and place of the hearing on the return day. It is usually convenient for this date to coincide with the expiry date of the order.
  5. The order must contain a statement of the right to make an application to set aside or vary the order under FPR 2010 rule 18.11.
  6. If the respondent does apply to set aside or vary the order the court must list it as a matter of urgency.
To ensure compliance with the above principles the Practice Guidance suggests an appropriate form of order to be used.

Following on from the issue of the Practice Guidance, Mr Justice Mostyn has released omnibuses of the Non-Molestation and Occupation orders prepared by the Family Orders Project team. It is intended that these orders, once they are adopted, may be varied by the court where required in the particular circumstances of a case. Mr Justice Mostyn’s Guidance can be found here. The Occupation Omnibus is available to download here. The Non-Molestation Omnibus is available here. Any comments on the draft orders should be sent to Joanna.wilkinson@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk by 10 November 2014.

We have all the draft orders released to date here, in one place for ease of reference.

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