What is a Restraining Order?
A restraining order, or protection order, is a legal document issued by the Ontario courts that orders one person to stay away from and/or not to contact another person. It is meant to help protect someone from physical or emotional harm caused by another person’s behaviour. Restraining orders can be issued for a variety of reasons under Ontario law, but all orders must have the same things in common: they must be reasonable and necessary in the eyes of the court, and they must identify the behaviours that are forbidden. In this blog post, we will look at how to apply for a restraining order in Ontario, what happens during the hearing process, what rights and responsibilities come with an Ontario restraining order once it is granted, and much more.
Types of Restraining Orders in Ontario
In Ontario, there are two main types of restraining orders that a person can apply for: emergency and non-emergency.
Emergency Restraining Orders (ERO) are temporary orders that are issued by the court to protect someone from imminent harm or danger. These orders are issued without notice to the other party involved and can be put in place immediately when it appears that there is an imminent threat.
Non-Emergency Restraining Orders (NRO) are long-term orders that require both parties to attend a hearing in court so that both sides can present evidence and make arguments in front of a judge. The length of this type of order depend on the severity of the case and its particular circumstances but typically last up to one year.
Applying for a Restraining Order
Applying for a restraining order in Ontario can be done at any court in the province. It is important to seek legal advice to ensure that the process is done properly and that all applicable laws and regulations are followed.
The process starts by filing an application with the court and providing all of the necessary information, including evidence of abuse or stalking, details about the behaviour you want prohibited and contact information for both parties involved. The application must be completed and signed by an authorized court employee or lawyer before it is filed with the court.
Once the application has been filed, a hearing date will be set. At this hearding, each party will present their evidence, arguments and testimonies in front of a judge. After considering both sides of the case, the judge will issue either an emergency or non-emergency restraining order depending on the circumstances.
Who can apply?
Anyone in Ontario who is 18 years of age or older can apply for a restraining order. Those under the age of 18 may be eligible if they have a guardian or attorney to represent them. A lawyer or authorized court employee must sign and submit the application for it to be considered by the court.
It is important to note that anyone, not just those directly involved in a situation, can file an application for a restraining order. For example, parents of abuse victims or police officers may also file applications on behalf of another person.
How to apply
To apply for a restraining order in Ontario, the first step is to secure legal advice and complete all applicable forms. The application must be filled out with the necessary information, including evidence of abuse or stalking and contact information for both parties involved. Once the application is complete, it must be signed by an authorized court employee or lawyer before it can be filed with the court.
Once the application has been filed, a hearing date will be set and each party must attend. At the hearing, each side will have the opportunity to present their evidence, arguments and testimonies before a judge. After considering both sides of the case, the judge will issue either an emergency or non-emergency restraining order depending on the circumstances.
The Hearing Process
What happens in the hearing?
At the hearing, each side will have the opportunity to present their evidence, arguments and testimonies before a judge. The judge may ask questions during the hearing to gain more information on the current situation. It is also possible that witnesses or a legal professional may be called upon to provide further testimony or information.
Once both sides are heard, the judge will review all evidence and testimony as well as relevant laws before making a final decision on whether to issue an emergency or non-emergency restraining order. The decision of the court is final and cannot be appealed.
Length of time for a decision from the court
The amount of time it takes for the court to make a decision can vary. It depends on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses involved. Generally, a judge will make a decision within 30 days of the hearing date, but in some cases, it may take up to several months. Once a decision is made, it is final and cannot be appealed.
After the Court Order is Granted
Rights and Responsibilities of the Person Relevant to the Order
The person relevant to the order has the right to attend the hearing, present evidence and witnesses, and cross-examine witnesses. The person also has the responsibility to comply with any court orders issued as a result of the hearing. This can include but is not limited to refraining from action or contact that could be considered harassment or stalking, as well as attending mandatory therapy sessions if ordered by the court.
How Long Does a Restraining Order Last?
A restraining order typically lasts for a set period of time, determined by the court. In some jurisdictions, a restraining order can last as long as five years. During this time, the terms of the restraining order must be followed or a violation could occur. Some states also have permanent restraining orders which are not time-limited and remain in effect until either party requests that it be dissolved or modified.
In conclusion, a person relevant to the order has specific rights and responsibilities which must be observed. Additionally, restraining orders can range from a set period of time up to permanent, depending on the jurisdiction in which they are issued. It is important to understand the terms of the restraining order and follow them closely, as a violation could have serious consequences.
Restraining orders can be obtained in Ontario to protect you or your loved ones from threats and violence. If you are fearful that someone is a threat to you, a Criminal Lawyer may help provide you a restraining order to protect you and your loved ones.