Contesting Non-Molestation Orders
If someone has applied to the court for a non-molestation order against you and you dispute the allegations made, we can assist you in contesting the order. We understand that being served with a non-molestation order can be very stressful and upsetting. This can be particularly true when it contains information and allegations regarding your behaviour that you were not expecting.
Non-molestation orders can be made ‘without notice’. This means that an order may be made against you before you are even aware such an application was being considered by the court. In cases where a non-molestation order has been unjustly issued, it may be possible to defend its terms.
Contesting a non-molestation order is an extremely sensitive matter. The Courts understandably take domestic abuse injunctions very seriously, but options are available to respondents to resolve the matter. In these situations, the support and guidance of our expert non-molestation order lawyers will prove invaluable.
If you find yourself in such a position, it is imperative that you get immediate advice from our non-molestation order experts who understand the broad repercussions that such allegations can have.
Get in touch with our experienced solicitors
At Barcan+Kirby, our highly experienced domestic abuse experts provide advice and guidance to clients across the UK from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Bristol city centre, Kingswood and Thornbury. If you need support with contesting a non-molestation order, or any other related matter, we can offer sensitive support that clarifies your options.
What is a non-molestation order?
A non-molestation order is a domestic abuse protective injunction. The main objective of an order is to protect a victim from domestic abuse (known as the applicant) and to prevent an alleged abuser (known as the respondent) from carrying out any type of violent, threatening or abusive acts. The order can also protect the child(ren) of the family.
Breaching a non-molestation order is an arrestable offence, and the police must be notified when this happens.
It is important to note that non-molestation orders can be granted without notice, as they are designed to protect any genuine victims of domestic abuse. This does mean, however, that the respondent is not given an opportunity to defend themselves before the order is made.
Non-molestation orders can be discharged. Contesting a non-molestation order in court is a complex process and will require the support of an expert lawyer to build the strongest possible case.
Looking for more information? Take a look at our Contesting a Non-Molestation Order FAQs or get in touch to discuss your case with a member of our team.
Why choose Barcan+Kirby for help with contesting Non-Molestation Orders?
There are many reasons to work with our team if you would like to defend a non-molestation order, including:
- Extensive expertise in a wide range of domestic abuse matters
- Ranked by Chambers and Partners UK for our Family/Matrimonial expertise
- Family Law and Children Law accredited by the Law Society
- Ranked by the Legal 500 for Family
- All of our Family Law team are members of Resolution, the UK’s leading professional network for family lawyers
We also have substantial experience in liaising with other professionals in relevant sectors to ensure that you receive all the support you need and are well-positioned to build the strongest possible case.
Contesting a non-molestation order FAQs
The courts will always require some form of evidence before they are able to make a non-molestation order. That said, many non-molestation order applications are made without notice, which means that the respondent is not given an opportunity to defend themselves before the order is made.
The respondent will have the chance to dispute the order at a later date, often around 14 days after the order is made. It is important to carefully consider your non-molestation order defence before disputing the application to give the best chance of success.
First and foremost, non-molestation orders are only intended to protect victims of domestic abuse.
However, to make the application in the first instance, you must be an “associated person” to the applicant. This means they must be connected to the respondent in some way, for example, they could be:
- A partner or former partner – this can include a married partner, a civil partner or an unmarried partner
- Someone they lived with
- Someone they have a child with
- A family member
Whatever the reason for the application, it is important to note that non-molestation orders can be contested where a respondent is able to demonstrate that the application is not a true reflection of the relationship, or the allegations made are false. This provides a strong avenue for challenging a non-molestation order involving false allegations. However, careful, thorough and expert preparation is required if a respondent is to be successful in persuading the court to set aside the order.
The law regarding a breach of a non-molestation order is very clear-cut. It is a criminal offence to breach the terms of a non-molestation order, even if there is a further court hearing arranged. A breach of such an order can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.
It is important to establish a strong case for defending a non-molestation order when it has been issued without advance knowledge. Respondents should comply with the order even when disputing the terms.
Yes, contesting or defending a non-molestation order will be possible. However, due to the sensitivity and complexity of these types of cases, this should ideally always be carried out with the support of a specialist non-molestation order lawyer.
Advice should be sought as soon as possible after receiving the court papers, especially if the order was made ex-parte (without the respondent being there) as there will only be a short period of time between the granting of the order and the next court hearing. Your lawyer will be best placed to advise you on what to do next and how to dispute the order.
If a non-molestation order has been made unfairly and imposed unfair restrictions, it is certainly worth contesting it. As mentioned, breaching the terms of an order, even if unintentionally, could result in a criminal conviction.
Urgently contact our specialists. This is especially important if the order was made without notice and there is a short period of time to prepare for the next court hearing.
Our lawyers will advise on the steps that need to be taken and the best approach for the case. They will usually then attend court to present the defence when a judge will consider both sides and make a decision. Should this be successful, the order will be discharged.
The court hearing regarding a non-molestation order will be held in private, with only the applicant, respondent and legal representatives being able to attend.
A judge will preside over the hearing, listening to statements and evidence from both sides. The legal representatives will have the chance to ask questions.
After the judge has heard all the evidence, they will make a decision in relation to the order.
Yes, while a non-molestation order is in place, respondents will need to adhere to its terms even if the order is being contested.
Breaching a non-molestation order whilst simultaneously contesting it, will reflect poorly on respondents while they are building a case to defend its terms and it is also a criminal offence.
If a non-molestation order is in place, this does not automatically mean that respondents will not be able to see their children. It can, however, make contact arrangements more complicated. For instance, there may be restrictions on approaching the former family home, ex-partner and the children who live with them. Our experts will be able to help you navigate difficult circumstances while the order is in place.
We can also help apply for a range of court orders to resolve arrangements for children that cannot be agreed upon, such as child arrangements orders and specific issue orders.
No, there is no court fee for challenging a non-molestation order.
When defending a non-molestation order, legal aid will not be available in the vast majority of cases.
The cost of contesting a non-molestation order will depend on the precise circumstances of the case. We will be able to provide specific information about costs during the initial meeting.