HMCTS has made several updates to Form FL401 allowing applicants to seek protective orders in the form of Non-Molestation or Occupation Orders to protect victims of domestic abuse.
As of 11 October 2021, changes to Form FL401 included:
- Setting out the legal test for a without notice application.
- Providing information about serving the application.
- Improved information about how to keep contact details confidential, including a specific instruction not to enter details of a refuge on the Form FL401 but instead to use Form C8 (confidential contact details).
- Details of the special measures under the Domestic Abuse Act 2021 that may be available to keep the applicant separate from the respondent when attending court.
The new form FL401 can be accessed here. The previous version of form FL401 will still be accepted until 31 December 2021.
Non-Molestation Orders are used to prohibit perpetrators from using or threatening physical violence, intimidating, harassing, pestering, or communicating with the applicant and will also prevent the perpetrator from instructing or encouraging others to do so. Zonal Orders may also be contained in Non Molestation Orders, preventing perpetrators from coming within a certain distance of the applicant.
Occupation Orders, used to declare or restrict the rights of a party to occupy a property, are granted if the relevant legal test is met, and can also extend to excluding the party from a specified area of a property where necessary.
A supporting witness statement must be filed with the application in form FL401, expanding on the reasons why the protective order is required. HMCTS has also provided a new template for supporting statements, form FL401T, designed to help applicants provide all the information that is needed from a supporting statement.
In emergency cases, both orders can be sought on an ex-parte basis, without giving the perpetrator notice of the application until a protective order is in place.