Responding to a Protection Order

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You might have been told that someone has applied for a Protection Order against you, or you might have been served with a temporary Protection Order, which is already in place.

If you’ve been served with a temporary Protection Order, it means the court decided it was urgently needed to protect the person who applied.

If you’ve been told that someone has applied for a Protection Order against you, you’ll be told when to go to court to talk to the judge. The judge will decide whether to make the Protection Order or not.

If you've been served with a Temporary Protection Order

We have created an information pack for respondents to help you understand the rules around Temporary Protection Orders:

Temporary Protection Order information pack for Respondents [PDF, 548 KB]

Conditions you must follow

If you’ve been named in a Protection Order, you must not contact the other person or have any weapons including firearms. If you have a firearms licence, the police will suspend it.

If you have children, they're usually covered by the Protection Order too.

You may also be directed to attend a non-violence programme.

Find out more about the conditions of a Protection Order

If you break the conditions

Breaking the conditions of a Protection Order is a crime. It’s also a crime if you don’t go to, or don’t finish, a non-violence course if you’ve been ordered to. 

How long a Protection Order lasts

A temporary Protection Order lasts three months. You can go to court before the three months ends to defend yourself.

If instead you’ve been given an application for a Protection Order, this means it doesn’t apply yet and you can go to a hearing at court to defend yourself. If you don’t go to court, the judge could make a Protection Order without you there and this could also be final, unless you or the person who applied ask the court to change it.

If a Protection Order becomes final

If you don’t go to court to defend yourself within three months of receiving a temporary Protection Order, the Protection Order automatically becomes final and it will last until either you or the applicant apply to the court to end it.

A final Protection Order may also be granted if, after a defended hearing, the Judge decides the Protection Order should stay in place.

The court won't end a Protection Order unless it's satisfied the person who's been violent is no longer a risk to the person/s protected by the Order.

Final Protection Order Information at Service pack for respondents [PDF, 461 KB]

How to defend yourself against a Protection Order

It’s free to go to court and fill out forms to defend yourself against a Protection Order.

If you don’t defend the Order, the judge could make an Order in court without you being there.

You should talk to a lawyer to help you. If you can’t afford a lawyer, you may be able to get:

You’ll need to respond within a set time

If you want to respond to a temporary Protection Order, you have to file your forms at court and make sure the other person gets a copy before the three months are up. 

If you want to respond to an application for a Protection Order, you usually need to file and serve your documents five working days before the hearing date. You’ll be told when the hearing date is.

Forms you’ll need to defend the Protection Order

For all forms relating to responding to a Protection Order, go to our forms page:

Protection order forms

Object to going to a non-violence course

If you've been told to go to a non-violence course but you don’t want to, you can fill in this form too:

Objection to direction to attend programme [PDF, 190 KB]

(You have 10 working days from when you’re told to go to a non-violence course to say you don’t want to go.)

Your documents need to be filed at court. The court, or your lawyer if you have one, will arrange for a copy to be given (served) to the other person (or people). 

Note: When you print the forms, it's important to print them single sided.

Even if you don’t want to defend yourself, you might want to see all the other documents about the Protection Order. You’ll need to tell the court your address so they can send them to you.

Find your local court

What happens after you’ve applied

You’ll go to a hearing before a judge to decide if a Protection Order should be issued or not.

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