Court hearing for a Restraining Order

Who can be at the hearing

Hearings for Restraining Orders are in open court so there could be members of the public or journalists there. However, the judge can order restrictions on the publication of anything to do with the case, and order that no-one except the parties and their lawyers and witnesses are allowed in the court room.

Opening statements

Both sides (or their lawyer) will make an opening statement about what they want.

Evidence and witnesses

The person who applied for the Restraining Order will present evidence of the harassment (‘evidence in chief’). This will include calling witnesses. This often includes the person who applied. Witnesses can be asked questions by both lawyers and the judge.

The respondent will then call their witnesses. Witnesses can be asked questions by both lawyers and the judge.

Summing up

Both sides (or their lawyer) then sum up their case, stating why a restraining order should or should not be made, based on the evidence and the law. The respondent might suggest changes to any special conditions if the Restraining Order ends up being made.

The judge’s decision

The judge might make their decision in the court room. However, they can ‘reserve’ their decision instead, which means they tell the 2 sides about their decision at a later date.

If the judge grants a Restraining Order, the harasser will be served with the Order. This means a court bailiff or a private process server or the police will give a copy of the Order to them. The court will organise this.

A copy of the Order will also be given to the applicant and to the local police station.

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