Restraining a party from leaving the jurisdiction
Produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder

The following Family practice note produced in partnership with David Salter of Deputy High Court judge and Recorder provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Restraining a party from leaving the jurisdiction
  • Writ ne exeat regno
  • Passport seizure order
  • Limitations on passport seizure orders
  • Procedure
  • Other remedies

Restraining a party from leaving the jurisdiction

Where a party wishes to enforce an order, and the respondent intends to leave the jurisdiction of the court and frustrate enforcement action against them, a writ ne exeat regno, or passport seizure order, may be considered. In children proceedings such an order may be made where there are concerns as to abduction or securing the return of a child, see Practice Note: Child abduction—emergency remedies—Passport order. The writ ne exeat regno was described by Mostyn J in Bhura v Bhura as a ‘charming historical relic’ which ‘must be regarded as an anachronism given the availability of the modern form of order [the passport seizure order]’. In Re P (discharge of passport order), Cobb J described a passport seizure order as ‘…a potent order, with significant implications, whose use it seems to me should be tightly controlled’ and that such orders should only be made for a finite period of time (para [32]).

Writ ne exeat regno

The provisions of section 19(2)(b) of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA 1981) subsume the High Court’s jurisdiction to grant this prerogative writ. The purpose and effect of a writ ne exeat regno is to restrain a party from leaving the jurisdiction where that party may leave the jurisdiction with assets or avoid complying with an order (Thaha v Thaha). The application can

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