What is an occupation order?

An occupation order can grant, declare, restrict or regulate your rights of occupation in the family home. It can be made between family members or those involved in a domestic relationship.

 What are the court's powers?

 The court has a number of powers when dealing with occupation order applications, including:

  • the power to enforce your entitlement to remain in occupation;
  • the power to require your ex-partner to permit you to enter and remain in the family home or part of it;
  • the power to regulate the occupation of the family home by either you or your ex-partner; 
  • the power to prohibit, suspend or restrict your ex-partner's right to occupy the family home; 
  • the power to require your ex-partner to leave the family home or part of it;  and
  • the power to exclude other persons from a defined area in the home. 

What is the court criteria for making an order?

If the court is satisfied that you or any relevant child are likely to suffer harm due to the conduct of your ex-partner if an order is not made, the court must make an order unless your ex-partner or any relevant child is likely to suffer harm as great or greater than the harm suffered by you. This is called the balance of harm test

If the court decides that neither you or any relevant child are likely to suffer significant harm, the court still has discretion to make orders. 

Without notice applications

In exceptional circumstances where there is an imminent risk of significant harm, a court may make an order without giving notice to your ex-partner. However, as a general rule the court will only make occupation orders after your ex-partner has been served with the application and has had the opportunity of putting their case forward.

How we can help?

If you have been excluded from your home by your ex-partner or their conduct in the house is causing a risk of harm to either you or your children, you may need to apply for an occupation order. The type of order you can apply for will depend upon your relationship with your ex-partner and your legal interest in the family home. 

We can advise you about your rights of occupation and the steps that can be taken to regulate your occupation of the property and assist you with bringing a court application.

Legal aid, do you qualify?

Legal aid is available for occupation applications subject to financial eligibility. If you are not financially eligible we charge a fee of £400 plus VAT (£80) plus court fees (£70), total £550. This covers all work involved in preparing your application and representation at the first appointment. 

Need further advice?

If you need more detailed advice about applying for an occupation order call us on (01228) 829530 to arrange an initial consultation or request a free call back.