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  • This was an appeal against a judge's refusal to discharge a non-molestation order from 2016 granted under section 42 of the Family Law Act 1996, and her substitution of an order which would have continued indefinitely, having stated, "I cannot see that it is going to inconvenience the husband in any way for it to continue. It serves as protection to the wife." Cobb J took the view that it was manifestly wrong for the judge to dispose of the application in this way. She had "failed to embark on anything approaching an adequate analysis of whether this case did justify the making of an open-ended order", and, if she had, the proper outcome would have been the discharge of the order. However, given that the wife spoke of ongoing intimidation in her oral submissions at the appeal, Cobb J directed the wife to file evidence of such, and the husband to file evidence in reply. To justify the continuation of the order, the wife would need to satisfy the court that judicial intervention was required to control the behaviour about which she complained. Cobb J therefore remitted the husband's application for discharge of the non-molestation order for re-hearing before a circuit judge. In the meantime, he substituted the judge's order with one which provided for the continuation of the non-molestation order until further order. Judgment, 12/07/2020, free
  • This hearing followed on from that in Re C1 and C2 (Child Arrangements) [2019] EWHC B15 (Fam), involving the same father but a different mother. In this hearing, the mother of these two children, aged six and eight, applied to extend an existing s.91(14) order for a period of five years. Keehan J found that the defects in the father's personality and his character were such that he posed a risk of serious emotional and psychological harm to the mother of these two children, as it had been found to do with regards to the mother of the two children in the earlier hearing. A period of two years would be an appropriate one to give the father the chance to make the changes that he needed to make, for his own benefit, and for the benefit of his children. However, Keehan J regretted that, in the absence of further incidents since 2016, there was no legal basis for making or extending a non-molestation order and that application was dismissed. The mother's application for costs was refused. Judgment, 03/01/2020, free
  • The father had difficulties with anger management, volatility and aggression. The circuit judge had made a child arrangements order, including orders for supervised contact, non-molestation and prohibited steps, against which the father had, following a course of therapy, unsuccessfully appealed. He now appealed with regard to the fairness of those hearings. Baker LJ found that there had been no indication to the father, a litigant in person, that the court would be making orders in respect of his future contact or concluding the proceedings. The summary dismissal of his appeal had also been wrong. The two hearings together represented an unwarranted infringement of his rights to a fair hearing. Peter Jackson LJ agreed, and the matter was remitted for a further hearing. Judgment, 28/05/2019, free
  • The father appealed against an order which prevented him from bringing further applications for contact or residence for three years. The judge had found that the children would suffer emotional harm if required to have direct contact with the father, who had completely lost sight of their welfare. Longmore, Peter Jackson and Coulson LJJ dismissed the appeal. Judgment, 09/04/2019, free
  • The father of a twenty-one-year-old woman, who had served time in prison for his behaviour towards the mother, sought to vary a non-molestation order that prevented him contacting the daughter. The daughter was opposed to any contact, other than through her solicitors. Williams J saw no merit at all in the application. Judgment, 09/04/2019, free

Latest know-how

  • Unusual application in which father sought permission to vary the terms of a non-molestation order thereby allowing him to communicate with his daughter. Case note, 04/11/2019, members only
  • In a tweet: Unsuccessful appeal against a non-molestation and occupation order Case note, 12/01/2017, members only
  • In a tweet: Guidance on the President's Practice Guidance (Oct 2014) on the duration of without notice orders Case note, 10/10/2016, members only
  • Judgment on costs arising from non-molestation proceedings Case note, 04/06/2014, members only
  • This is one of the standard family orders currently out for consultation. Order, 29/11/2013, free

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