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Court Paper Work & Court Information

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What orders can the court make? And who can apply for the orders?

Safety Order
A safety order prohibits the person against whom the order is made (the respondent) from engaging in violence or threats of violence. It does not oblige that person to leave the family home. If the person does not normally live in the family home, it prohibits them from watching or being in the vicinity of where the person applying for the order (the applicant) and dependent children lives. A safety order can be made for up to five years.

Barring Order
A barring order requires the respondent to leave the family home and stay away from the family home of the applicant and/or dependent children. It may also include terms prohibiting the respondent from using or threatening to use violence. A barring order can be made for up to three years.

Once a summons has been issued for a safety order or a barring order the applicant can apply for a protection order or an interim barring order while waiting for the application to be heard in court.

Protection Order
This is a temporary safety order. It gives protection to the applicant until the court decides on a safety or barring order application. It is intended to last until the case is heard and a decision made. It does not oblige the respondent to leave the family home.

Interim Barring Order
This is a temporary barring order. It is intended to last until the barring order application is heard in court and a decision made. Under the Domestic Violence Act, 2002 a full court hearing must take place within eight working days of the granting of an interim barring order. The Court must be of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing there is an immediate risk of significant harm to the applicant or any dependent person if the order is not made immediately and the granting of a protection order would not be sufficient to protect the applicant or any dependent person.

Spouses and Former Spouses
Spouses and former spouses can apply for orders against each other because of violence towards themselves or towards their children.

Couples in Domestic Relationships
Dating couples who do or do not have children, who do or do not reside together, who are or are not married can apply for domestic violence orders.

A parent can apply for protection against domestic violence by their own child if the child is over 18.

Parents of Children in Common
A parent can apply for an order on the basis that he/she fears for the safety of a dependent child.

Children may apply for orders, but an adult or health board must make the application on their behalf.

Adult siblings who reside together can apply for orders against each other.

How to make an application

Most applications under the domestic violence legislation are made in the District Court. You can engage a solicitor to make an application on your behalf or you can make the application yourself. You may be entitled to legal aid. If you qualify for legal aid, then there is no fee for domestic abuse cases whether you are the applicant or defendant.

If you choose not to engage in a solicitor, you will need to contact the District Court office in the area where you or the respondent live. You will need to lodge the relevant court forms in the court office. Court staff will identify the forms you need to make your application but cannot tell you what to put in the forms.

The forms will be sent to the respondent so that the respondent can attend court on the day of the hearing. You must also attend court on the day to make your application.

Interim Orders

You can apply for a protection order (interim safety order) or an interim barring order at any time after you have issued a summons or at the time of applying for safety or barring order. The respondent need not be in attendance when seeking interim barring or protection orders, this means that the respondent will not have been told that the application is being made and will not be in court. The judge can grant these orders on your information alone. An interim order will last until the day of the hearing for the full order where the judge will listen to both the applicant and the respondent and decide if the full order is warranted.

For interim orders you must complete an application from called a “statement of information” providing details including the incidents of violence/coercive control and the reason why you require protection on an emergency basis. You must swear the “information” on oath before a judge of the District Court who will decide whether your application should be granted.

What happens in court on the day of the full hearing of an application?

The Courtroom

On the day of the full hearing both parties must attend in court. The judge sits at a bench facing the parties and the courtroom. If either party have engaged a solicitor, they will also be in attendance. You may also ask the judge for permission to have a professional support worker or court accompaniment worker in attendance. The only other person in the courtroom is the clerk of the court who deals with the administration of the case.

As the applicant you will give evidence first. You will be asked to step into the witness box and swear an oath that what you say to the court is the truth.

The respondent will then be sworn in and given the opportunity to respond to your allegations.

Having heard both parties and any relevant evidence the judge will make his ruling.

A safety order may be granted up to 5 years, a barring order may be granted for up to 3 years.

What happens if someone breaches the terms of an order?

A breach of any order under the domestic violence legislation is a criminal offence. The Gardai can arrest and charge a person who breaches such an order.

The forms below are drafts only and cannot be printed out and used in court, all court applications must be completed with a court clerk in your local district court office.