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Interim Protection Orders explained by our Attorneys in Cape Town

Have you been the victim of verbal, physical or emotional abuse?

If so, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your property from individuals who intend to cause you harm.

In terms of the Protection from Harassment Act one can approach the Magistrates Court to get protection in the form of an Interim Protection Order which protects individuals from harassment which is not considered a crime.

Should such a Protection Order be obtained, and should the party against whom the Order is made violate the order, that person is guilty of an offence and can be fined or sentenced imprisonment.

Who can apply for an Interim Protection Order:

  1. The Complainant personally,
  2. In the case of minor children, the child does not need adult supervision and does not need to be assisted by a guardian or a parent,
  3. Any person with an interest in the safety and welfare of the Complainant- with written permission from the Complainant if the Complainant is above the age of 18.

The procedure to obtain a Protection Order:

  1. Attend at the Magistrates Court in your jurisdiction and fill out the application form, supplying details of the harassment you are suffering as well as the reasons why you need this Protection Order and list the specific relief that you need.
  2. The court will then decide whether or not to issue the Interim Protection Order.
  3. When deciding whether or not to grant the order, they will consider various factors including: whether there has been or there is likely to be harassment against the Complainant, whether actual harm has or may occur should the Interim Order not be granted and whether giving notice of the Order prior to it being granted will put the Complainant in further danger.
  4. Should the Interim Order be granted, it must be served on the Respondent.
  5. An Interim Protection Order is only temporary. The court will provide the parties with a return date, upon which the both the Complainant and Respondent must appear before a Magistrate and the Respondent must show reasons why the Order should not be made final.
  6. If the Order is made final, a certified copy must be sent to the relevant police station and to both parties.

What to do if an Interim Protection Order has been granted against you:

  1. Read the documents carefully and make note of the return date- failure to appear on the relevant date can lead to you being held in contempt of court and/or the Order may be made final in your absence.
  2. Approach a law firm to represent you at your return date should you desire same.
  3. It is possible for an application to be made to change the return date to bring it to an earlier date.
  4. If the Interim Order outlines certain behaviour that you are prohibited from doing, it is essential that you abide by those rules. Failure to abide by the rules set out in the Interim Order can lead to further rulings being made against you in the form of a fine/imprisonment.
  5. The Respondent can draft an affidavit detailing his/her defence and bring the affidavit to the return date to assist in arguing his/her case.

Bailey Haynes – Your attorneys in Cape Town

Family law is a personal and sensitive area that must be handled by skilled and proficient experts.

We provide professional advice relating to all aspects of family law, including the enforcement and protection of rights in family, personal relations as well as antenuptial contracts.

For more information about our law firm in Cape Town, please contact us.


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