What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is a court order which can be made on conviction or acquittal for any criminal offence. The aim is to prevent the defendant from causing any further harm to the person named in the order.
The order will normally prohibit the defendant from having any direct or indirect contact with the person named in the order. It can also include a prevention from attending specific properties.
How long will a restraining order last?
Restraining orders can be made for as long as the judge feels the person named in the order needs protecting. The order will have been made either for a specified period or until further order.
Is it possible to apply to vary or remove a restraining order?
Yes. Section 5(4) of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 allows the defendant or any other person named in the order (i.e. the victim) to apply to the court which made the order for it to be varied or discharged.
The views of the person named in the order are paramount and if they wish the order to be lifted, provided they have the capacity to make that decision and have made the decision of their own free will then case law supports that the order should be lifted.
Removal of restraining order success
This case involved a father (victim) and his daughter (defendant).
The daughter was accused of a criminal offence against her father; the prosecution ultimately offered no evidence in this matter however a restraining order was made on acquittal for an indefinite period of time.
Four years later the defendant wished to re-engage with her father and rebuild their relationship. An application was made to the court on behalf of the defendant and the views of the victim were sought. He indicted he also wished to reconnect with his daughter and no longer felt that the order was necessary. The court duly lifted the restraining order.
In what circumstances could an order be varied?
An order can be varied for example to enable to defendant and person named in the order to have contact at counselling sessions if they wish to attempt to rebuild their relationship before an order is applied to be removed.
Need a solicitor to vary/discharge a restraining order?
You can contact our specialist lawyers Laura Baumanis for orders that were made in the magistrates’ court and Stacey Mabrouk for orders made in the crown court. You can contact us by telephone on 0161 8341515, email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to send us a message.
Olliers Solicitors do not deal with applications to vary or remove restraining orders on a legally aided basis.