Non-molestation injunctions issued without a specified time limit are “wrong in principle” the President of the Family Court has insisted.
Such injunctions, popularly known as ‘non-mols’, are issued in family disputes where one party alleges that the other has been abusive or violent. The person subject to the injunction can be arrested and imprisoned if they breach the terms. They are normally issued ‘ex parte’ – that is to say, on behalf of one party only, without the involvement of the other.
Sir James Munby endorses a claim made by two organisations representing magistrates – the National Bench Chairs’ Forum and the Magistrates Association. In 2014, both told the President that they believed the practice of issuing unlimited non-molestation injunctions was wrong.
In guidance originally issued in October that year and now revised, the President declares them “entirely correct”, adding:
“The practice of granting such orders for an unlimited time, if this is still occurring, must stop.”
The President stresses the importance of each injunction carrying a precise end date and a clear statement of the ‘return day’ when the next court hearing will take place. The latter should be maximum of 14 days after the order was issued he explained.
Read the full guidance here.