Q&As

A child arrangements order is in place that includes provision that any other arrangements may be agreed between the parties in writing. Where one party wishes to seek additional contact, and has communicated those requests in writing to the other party, could that be considered to be harassment that would justify an injunction?

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Produced in partnership with Melissa Harrison of Coram Chambers and Marisa Allman of The 36 Group
Published on LexisPSL on 11/11/2019

The following Family Q&A Produced in partnership with Melissa Harrison of Coram Chambers and Marisa Allman of The 36 Group provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • A child arrangements order is in place that includes provision that any other arrangements may be agreed between the parties in writing. Where one party wishes to seek additional contact, and has communicated those requests in writing to the other party, could that be considered to be harassment that would justify an injunction?

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (PHA 1997) creates a general prohibition on conduct amounting to harassment. It contains no definition of harassment. However there is an objective test, which is defined by reference to the person whose course of conduct is in question, knowing that such conduct amounts to harassment of another. A person is deemed to know that such conduct amounts to harassment if a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think the course amounted to harassment. It envisages that in order for behaviour to constitute harassment, there must be a course of conduct. A course of conduct must involve relevant conduct on at least two occasions.

Where harassment has taken place within the meaning of PHA 1997 it is possible to apply for an injunction to prevent further harassment. See Practice Note: Applications under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The ‘standard’ provision which may be included in a child arrangements order (CAO) which requires all alternative or additional arrangements to be agreed in writing seldom goes further in providing parties with guidance as to the parameters of such communication. Much will depend on the context and circumstances of the case in defining what is reasonable and acceptable in relation to the frequency of such communication.

By way of illustration, a child arrangements case with no history of domestic abuse might

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