Cobb J allowed an appeal against an order of HHJ Hughes QC refusing to discharge a non-molestation order granted in 2016, and her substitution of an order that was to ‘continue indefinitely’.
Ex-parte non-molestation and occupation orders (the latter regulating the occupation of the home) were granted in 2016, with no expiry date. Provision was made for a 'mention' date whereby the appellant was required to attend if he wished to contest their existence. It was accepted that the appellant had been served, and the parties continued to live together for a further two years. The financial remedy proceedings were settled by agreement in May 2018, and the appellant later applied to discharge the orders. The parties agreed the occupation order should be discharged as it was transferred to the husband as part of the financial remedy settlement. The respondent sought opposed discharge of the non-molestation order.
The trial judge remarked that, as there had been no communication between the parties for some time, the respondent would not be granted an order if she applied now for a fresh one. However, the judge commented on the fact that the order may work in keeping the peace between the parties. The judge noted that the lack of expiry date and return date were not considered good practice nowadays (and indeed Cobb J cited guidance on this issue) but concluded that there was no good reason now to discharge the order. Instead, the judge made an order that would continue indefinitely.
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