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My ex-partner is making unnecessary court applications in relation to our children

By Melissa Gire, Associate Solicitor

When parents separate, arrangements for the children need to be carefully considered and, in some cases, when parents cannot agree about what is best for their children, the court has to make the final decision.

Some parents may find themselves in court for a second, third or even more occasions in circumstances where the other parent has continued to ask the court to make further decisions or change decisions it has already made in relation to the children, which often leads to further stress and acrimony between the parents.

Section 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 allows the court to order that further applications in relation to a child or children may not be made by the parent named without permission from the court (known as a barring order). The purpose of this provision was, in exceptional cases, to prevent unnecessary and repeated applications.

The position has now changed, as a result of Section 67 of the Domestic Abuse Act 2021, which allows for future applications to be restricted when the primary carer or child would be at risk of harm if a further application is made. The court can now also make a barring order to restrict further court applications itself, without an application being made by either parent. This is helpful for parents without solicitors who may not be aware these barring orders exist.

Barring orders are a protective filter and there is considerable scope for their use in appropriate cases. The court should give due consideration to using barring orders in children proceedings where the litigation is being used by one parent as a means of coercive control or harassment, or further abuse against a victim of domestic abuse.  

Protracted litigation can be very detrimental to children who may already be vulnerable from any previous litigation relating to their upbringing.  Barring orders can now be used without the need to establish exceptional circumstances, where there is a need to protect a child from endless futile applications and is a very welcome development.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Melissa Gire on email: or Gemma Gillespie on email: or tel: 01892 515022.

This blog is not intended as legal advice that can be relied upon and CooperBurnett LLP does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of its contents.

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February 28, 2024
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