FL403 Form: Non-Molestation Orders and Costs Recovery




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Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

When an individual is the victim of domestic violence, the family courts are able to step in to aid the victim.

The Family Law Act 1996 Part 4 and Part 4A detail which orders can be utilized for situations relating to domestic violence or forced marriages.  

A Non-Molestation Order (see section 42-42A of the Family Law Act 1996) is used to prevent an individual from threatening violence against you or your child. Alternatively, it can be used if you are the victim of harassment (see also civil court orders which can be obtained for protection from harrassment).

For an order of this type, the Respondent may be your husband, wife, civil partner, or other close relation. Moreover, a Non-Molestation Order may be made against a close family member e.g. parent or sibling. Finally, the order could be made against individuals who have parental responsibility for your child or grandchild.

Furthermore, an Occupation Order (see section 33-41 of the Family Law Act 1996) can be produced when an individual is seeking to limit another party’s rights to occupy the matrimonial home.

Both of the aforementioned orders hold a power of arrest. Therefore, under the Family Law Act 1996, a Police officer can arrest an individual for breaking the terms of a non-molestation or occupation order.

These injunctions are usually put in place for a specified amount of time e.g. 9 months. Though, if the situation changes, you could complete a FL403 Form to request that the court vary, extend, or discharge an existing non-molestation order or occupation order. 


What is a FL403 Form?

An FL403 form is a document which acts as an application to vary, extend, or discharge an existing Non-Molestation Order or Occupation Order. 

If you decide that the order is no longer appropriate for the situation, you could request that the Court vary the terms or discharge the order completely. This form can only be completed if the order is still in force, so it should be completed prior to the order’s expiry date.

As these scenarios are often very sensitive and individuals can be vulnerable, you can fill in a Form C8. This ensures that your personal details are kept private, thus they are not visible to the other parties in the application.

The same can be completed for your child’s contact details as well. If you decide to remain anonymous to the other parties in the application, leave the Applicant details’ section blank and fill in a C8 form. This is a very simple action which may wholly benefit your peace of mind.


Making an application to vary, extend, or discharge a Non-Molestation Order 

If you are already seeking advice from a solicitor, they will be able to apply for an extension, variation, or discharge of an order via an FL403 Form.

Alternatively, if you are conducting your family proceedings as a litigant in person, and have decided that an FL403 Form is necessary, you can complete the application online. Then, you can email, post or hand in the form to the court you sought your original order from.


Costs Recovery upon Conclusion of the Matter

Once a matter has concluded, legal costs will require due consideration. Generally in family matters, the general order is ‘no order as to costs’, and often in legal aided funded matters the appropriate order made will be a detailed assessment of the parties’ legally aided costs.  In some cases however, where there has been unreasonable conduct, an inter partes costs order may be produced by the Court.

This type of order states that the other side has to pay the winning party’s costs, or at least a portion of them. It is important for any privately funded or legal aid solicitor to take note of which costs are being paid from the Paying Party Defendant/Respondent, so that the remaining costs can be recovered from the Legal Aid Agency.

Once an inter-partes costs order has been made, a Bill of Costs should be prepared by a Costs Draftsman. In contrast to a non-legal aid funded matter, hourly rates are not covered by the indemnity principle if the Receiving Party was legally aided. As a result, hourly rates can be charged in accordance with what is reasonable on the case as opposed to what is stated in the Guideline Hourly Rates document or in the Solicitors’ funding agreement.

Negotiations can then commence with the Defendant, as they can assess the Bill and prepare Points of Dispute if necessary. Replies can then be prepared in response to this document and if necessary, a Costs Lawyer can advocate for you at a detailed assessment hearing.

If the usual ‘no order as to costs’ principle applies and the only order for detailed assessment is for the parties’ legally aided costs, then the Solicitor will need to have their costs quantified, and it determined whether fixed fees apply, or an exceptional hourly rates claim can be made.  This is then submitted to the LAA (we recommend via the CCMS portal as this is most time effective) to be processed, and once submitted, costs usually take 2 – 3 weeks to be assessed.


How can ARC Costs Assist?

ARC Costs can assist in all legal costs matters, including costs incurred in respect of FL403 applications, irrespective of whether you are a legally aided party, or a Paying/Receiving party under an inter-partes costs order. If a costs order is made, you should seek the assistance of a costs specialist immediately.

We also regularly provide assistance to law firms in legal aid funded cases, ranging from fixed costs matters, to exceptional costs claims and Very High Costs Cases (VHCCs).

We are highly experienced Costs Draftsmen/Costs Lawyers and have been successful in recovering substantial amounts in legal fees for our clients.

We can assist in the whole of the legal aid and inter partes assessment process.

For legal aid, we are often instructed to prepare and upload Bills onto CCMS, and to submit supporting documentation to have costs assessed and recovered. We usually achieve a recovery of 90% plus on all matters submitted.

For any inter partes order, the detailed assessment process will apply. From drafting your Bill of Costs and Points of Reply to conducting negotiations with the other side before advising on whether the claim should proceed to a Detailed Assessment Hearing, for which one of our in-house Costs Lawyers can provide representation. 

Similarly for paying parties, we are well versed in preparing Points of Dispute and contesting legal costs claims, and on average we reduce any Bill of Costs on which we are instructed to oppose, by 40%.

We can be contacted via email at info@arccosts.co.uk, or by telephone on 01204 397302. For more information on legal costs, please find out more about our speciality areas of expertise and our services on our legal costs page.

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01204 397302


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