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Domestic Abuse  |  Family law  |  Legal Aid

What evidence is required for an Occupation Order?

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Walker Family Law
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A victim of domestic abuse may seek the protection of the court by applying for a domestic violence order, often referred to as an ‘injunction’.

There are two types of domestic violence orders: non-molestation orders and occupation orders.

A non-molestation order is fairly self-explanatory. It is an order prohibiting one party from molesting, threatening or otherwise harassing the other party, including by the use of coercive and controlling behaviour.

But what is an occupation order?

What is an occupation order?

An occupation order is essentially an order that regulates who can occupy the parties’ home, although it can do much more than that.

The most common way in which an occupation order is used is to require one party to vacate the property, but it can also be used, for example, to require one party to allow the other party back into the property after they have previously been forced to leave.

An occupation order can even regulate which parts of the home each party may occupy, although this can obviously only happen where the property is large enough for the parties to live separately within it.

An occupation order can also exclude one party from an area around the home.

For more details of what an occupation order can do, and how the court decides whether to make an occupation order, see this recent post.

What evidence do you need for an occupation order?

Clearly, an occupation order can be extremely useful when dealing with domestic abuse. Ensuring that a victim is safe in their own home is absolutely essential.

So it is important that anyone wishing to apply for an occupation order has the evidence that they require to obtain it. An occupation order is a serious order for a court to make, especially if it is ordering someone to leave their home. The court will only therefore make such an order if it has the evidence necessary to satisfy it that the order is required.

Obviously you will need to provide the court with evidence of the domestic abuse. The main way in which you will do this is by providing the court with a statement setting out details of the abuse, including the first, worst, and most recent incidents of abuse.

Sometimes the abuse does not consist of separate incidents but is rather a pattern of abuse, such as where there has been controlling behaviour by the abuser. In such a case you will need to explain the pattern of abuse.

You may also be able to provide the court with independent evidence of the abuse, for example from a friend or family member, although this is not always possible, where the abuse only takes place within the home.

Some other types of independent evidence are mentioned below, in connection with applying for legal aid.

The court will also want details of the home, including whether it is owned or rented and by whom, and who pays the mortgage or rent. The court will also want to know what your housing needs are, for example where you have children to look after.

In short, provide the court with as much relevant evidence as you can, to explain why you need the occupation order.

Evidence needed to obtain legal aid

You may be able to obtain legal aid to cover the legal costs involved in applying for non-molestation and occupation orders.

To obtain legal aid you will need to provide the Legal Aid Agency with written evidence of the domestic abuse.

The evidence can come from one or more of various specified sources, such as: the court, where a previous domestic abuse order has been made, the court has made a finding of domestic abuse against the abuser or where the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence offence; the police, where they have had dealings with the abuser such as arresting or cautioning them for a domestic violence offence; or a doctor, where they have examined you and found that you have suffered injuries consistent with being a victim of domestic violence.

We can provide you with full details of the types of evidence needed to obtain legal aid. To get in touch with us, click the link on this page.

How can we help?

If you are the victim of domestic abuse you should seek expert legal advice as soon as possible. We can provide you with that advice.

For more information about our domestic abuse services, and how to get in touch, see this page.