The President of the Family Division has banned the practice of issuing ex parte injunctions without a time limit.
So called ex parte orders are issued for the benefit of one party without prior notice being given to the other party. Examples include non-molestation orders, which prohibit certain actions on the part of spouses, partners, or relatives who are suspected of abusive or violent behaviour.
The Magistrates’ Association and the National Bench Chairs’ Forum (which also represents magistrates nationally) both raised concerns with Sir James Munby about ex parte non-molestation orders which are issued without a specific time limit.
The President has now issued practice guidance on this issue. He writes:
“[The magistrates] suggest that practice varies. They express the view that to grant such an order for an unlimited time is wrong in principle.”
The guidance note cites case law and relevant legal principles, before reaching agreement with the magistrates’ claim. Sir James declares:
“In expressing that view, the Magistrates’ Association and the National Bench Chairs’ Forum are entirely correct. To grant an ex parte (without notice) injunction for an unlimited time is wrong in principle. The practice of granting such orders for an unlimited time must stop.”
Read the President’s guidance here.