Can I do Mediation if I have Bail Conditions or a Non-Molestation order in place?
Non-molestation orders and bail conditions may come into play when one of the parties has been abusive, threatening or involved in stalking. In the context of family mediation, it is important to understand how these orders impact the process and under what circumstances they may hinder or facilitate resolution. In this blog, we will delve into the intricacies of non-molestation orders and bail conditions, shedding light on their implications for family mediation.
Non-Molestation Orders in Family Law
A non-molestation order is a court order designed to protect an individual and their family members from harassment, violence, or the threat of violence. In the realm of family law, these orders are often sought when there are concerns about domestic abuse. The order prohibits the alleged perpetrator from taking specific actions against the protected party, which includes not only physical harm but also actions such as harassment, intimidation, or stalking. They can be obtained through criminal law, but are more commonly obtained through civil law. It can be helpful to have legal advice before submitting an application.
These are usually ordered by the police or criminal court after you have been arrested for a criminal offence. Bail conditions may order you not to go within a certain area, contact a certain person either directly or indirectly or in any way intimidate a witness or interfere with an investigation.
They may contain exceptions to these, for example to discuss child arrangements or to send a letter from a solicitor or family mediator. In many cases, the offence of breaching bail conditions can be more serious under criminal law than the offence for which you are bailed. You are also less likely to be given bail if you break a clause, so the impact can be substantial.
Impact on Family Mediation
Entering family mediation with a non-molestation order or bail conditions in place is possible. However, it requires thoughtful reflection on its effects on communication. The heightened apprehension and stress associated with such orders can hinder constructive discussions, particularly in cases involving a history of domestic abuse. Nevertheless, there are situations where family mediation can move forward. By integrating safety measures, it becomes possible to strike a balance between ensuring safety and fostering the resolution process.
Your family mediator will need to agree with you that family mediation is suitable.
In some cases, family mediation can proceed with a non-molestation order or bail conditions in place, provided that appropriate safety measures are implemented. These may include separate waiting areas, staggered arrival and departure times, Online mediation sessions or Shuttle Mediation.
GET IN TOUCH TO FIND OUT HOW MEDIATE UK CAN HELP WITH YOUR PARENTING OR FINANCIAL DISPUTE, OR WITH A DIVORCE OR SEPARATION.
Relevant Considerations for Family Mediation
Non-molestation orders and bail conditions may necessitate the use of third-party communication methods, such as solicitors or family mediators acting as intermediaries, to convey information between the parties.
It is important to take legal advice to understand the specific regulations of the order and ensure you are abiding by the law. The mediation service is unlikely to be able to confirm if an order restricts them from contacting the other party. This is why you should contact your own solicitor, who specialises in criminal law, to see whether you can contact the other party to invite them to mediation.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings or MIAM’s as they are more commonly known – are typically required before filing certain family law applications. However, certain exemptions may apply in cases involving domestic abuse, where attending a MIAM could pose a risk to the party’s safety.
Please read more about the 15 exemptions to attending a MIAM here. If you do not want to mediate with the other party, and they have bail conditions or a non-molestation order currently in place, it is highly likely these would be accepted by a court as evidence of why you do not need to mediate.
In situations where direct communication is not feasible due to orders or conditions, shuttle mediation allows parties to engage in mediation with the mediator shuttling between separate rooms or using virtual platforms to facilitate communication to try to help them reach an agreement.
This method allows each party to communicate their needs and concerns to the family mediator without fear of retaliation or intimidation from the other party and can help maintain a more cooperative and respectful atmosphere throughout the mediation process. Shuttle mediation works very well online for this reason.
If the other party to your case is subject to a non-molestation order or bail conditions, you would not usually need to mediate. But you can if you want to and your family mediator agrees it is suitable. Mediate UK have mediated many successful agreements and kept people out of court when these restrictions are in place.
If you have a non-molestation order against you or currently have bail conditions, you should check with your legal advisor or solicitor that you can contact the other party through a mediator. In some cases, you can request this when the court or police make the order. Sometimes you can have the bail conditions changed as well. When bail conditions or a non-molestation order is in place, Mediate UK’s policy is to ask you to confirm in writing that you are happy for us to contact the other party. We don’t want to unwittingly put any clients in jail!