The Summary Jurisdiction (Domestic Violence) Law 1992 (Law20 of 1992).
If you are married or living together as man and wife and there is violence or the threat of violence within the family you may apply to a magistrate for a domestic order to stop the violence.
You can apply if the violence is against you or a child of the marriage including any child who has been treated by both of you as a child of the family.
The magistrate can order the violence to stop. If the violence continues the person committing the violence (called the Respondent) may be fined or sent to prison.
You should seek advice from; an Attorney or, The Woman’s Resource Centre, Elizabethan Square, George Town.
Yes. However the process can be complicated and the court staff cannot help you except to refer you to the correct forms. You will have to complete the forms and draft orders yourself. You will also have to attend before the magistrate and present your case.
No. Legal Aid in civil actions is only granted in the Grand Court. However you may be eligible for Legal Aid if you decide to start divorce proceedings and apply for a restraining order, as these are proceedings in the Grand Court. It is advisable that you consult an attorney for all Grand Court proceedings.
If you decide to issue the application yourself you should go to the Civil Section in the Courthouse. The office hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Assistance will be given to get genuine cases before the Court as quickly as possible.
You are advised to obtain a copy of the Law and the Summary Court Rules 1995 from the Clerk of the Legislative Assembly. The form of application (form 7) is set out in the Rules and you will need 4 copies. It is advisable to have an affidavit to support your application. This may be sworn at the court office. The application must be served on the respondent. The court bailiff can do this.
If you consult an attorney, you will have to be responsible for paying his or her fees. The court fee for the application is $15. The bailiff’s fee varies according to the district in which the summons is to be served. George Town is $30.
Yes. However the summons must be served on the respondent personally and you must take care this does not provoke further violence. You will also have to prepare and file an affidavit of service of the summons.
If you fear there may be a threat of violence in the near future you may apply for an interim order to be made in the absence of the respondent. If such an interim order is granted a further hearing date will be set and the respondent must be served with an order showing this new date of hearing. An interim order normally only lasts for 28 days.
The magistrate must be satisfied that your application is in order. He or she may ask questions of you or your attorney, and may adjourn the hearing to another day if further proof is required. If the respondent is in court he/she or an attorney may ask you questions. The interim hearing may be in chambers but the final hearing is usually in open court.
The magistrate may order; that the respondent must not use violence against you (or the children), that the respondent leave the matrimonial home, a penal notice so that imprisonment may result if the order is disobeyed.
The police may arrest a respondent who appears to be in breach of an order under this Act. You may also apply for the court to fine or commit the respondent to prison for breach of the order.
For further information on the Domestic Violence Law you should consult an attorney or the Women’s Resource Centre.