Understanding Interlocutory Orders in Family Law Proceedings

Interlocutory Orders

By Ezra Sarajinsky

· Read time: 7 minutes

Interlocutory orders refer to temporary court orders made during the course of legal proceedings to address urgent or specific issues.

Family law proceedings can be complex and involve a series of procedural matters. One of these matters may include interlocutory hearings, which are like mini-hearings that address specific issues within the primary proceedings. 

In family law proceedings, interlocutory applications can be made by one party to seek certain orders from the court. These orders may include urgent assistance from the court or orders about the procedure or timetable of the proceedings, including orders about obtaining or disclosing evidence. 

Court orders in family law proceedings are declarations made by a judge, which can command certain actions to be taken or prohibit certain activities. 

As family law matters often involve sensitive issues and complex legal procedures, it is important to seek the advice of a legal professional when making an interlocutory application.

What is an Interlocutory Application?

An interlocutory application is a request made to the court during the course of legal proceedings.

It’s a type of application that seeks a specific order or ruling from the court on a particular issue that needs to be addressed before the case can proceed further.

Interlocutory applications are generally made when there is a dispute or uncertainty about a particular aspect of the case that needs to be resolved before the final decision can be made. 

For example, a party may make an interlocutory application to seek an order for discovery of certain documents, or to have a particular issue determined before the trial, such as whether evidence should be excluded.

Types of Interlocutory Orders

There are various types of interlocutory applications that can be made in legal proceedings. Some of the most common types include:

  • Interlocutory injunctions: These are court orders that prohibit a party from taking certain actions until the case is resolved. For example, a company may seek an interlocutory injunction to prevent a former employee from disclosing confidential information.
  • Interlocutory discovery: This type of application seeks an order for the disclosure of information or documents that are relevant to the case but have not yet been disclosed.
  • Security for costs: This type of application seeks an order for one party to provide security for the other party’s costs in the event that the case is unsuccessful.
  • Striking out pleadings: This type of application seeks an order for certain pleadings in the case to be struck out or dismissed, usually because they are irrelevant or frivolous.

What is an Interlocutory Hearing?

An interlocutory hearing is a court hearing that is held to determine an interlocutory application. At an interlocutory hearing, the parties present arguments and evidence to support their case, and the judge considers the application and makes a ruling.

Interlocutory hearings can be held at any stage of the proceedings, and they can be conducted in person or by telephone or video conference. 

The rules and procedures for interlocutory hearings may vary depending on the type of application and the court in which the proceedings are being heard.

When would you need an Interlocutory Order?

Interlocutory applications can be made at any stage of the legal proceedings, from the commencement of the case through to the final hearing. They are typically made when there is a dispute or uncertainty about a particular issue that needs to be resolved before the case can proceed further.

For example, if one party believes that the other party has not properly disclosed all relevant documents, they may make an interlocutory application for discovery. 

Similarly, if there is a dispute about the admissibility of certain evidence, an interlocutory application may be made to have the issue determined before the trial.

What are the steps to make an Interlocutory Application in family law proceedings?

In family law proceedings, the steps to make an interlocutory application may vary depending on the particular issue or dispute that needs to be addressed. 

Generally, the first step is to prepare the necessary documents, including an application, affidavit, and supporting material. 

The application and supporting documents must then be filed with the court and served on the other parties to the proceedings. 

Once the documents have been filed and served, the court may schedule a hearing or request further information from the parties. It is important to note that the specific steps for making an interlocutory application in family law proceedings can be complex and may require the assistance of a legal professional.

FAQs

What exactly are ‘orders’?

In family law proceedings, orders refer to declarations made by a judge or magistrate in relation to a particular issue. These orders can cover a wide range of issues, including parenting arrangements, child support, property settlements, and spousal maintenance. 

Orders can be made by consent of the parties or by a court decision after a hearing or trial. 

Once an order has been made, it becomes legally binding on the parties involved and must be followed. Breaching a family law order can have serious consequences and may result in penalties or enforcement proceedings.

Who can apply for an interlocutory order?

Interlocutory orders can be applied for by any party involved in the case. This can include the plaintiff, defendant, or any other interested party. An interlocutory application can be made at any stage of the proceedings to address urgent or specific issues that require the attention of the court. 

It is important to note that interlocutory applications should be made in good faith and not for the purpose of causing delay or disruption to the proceedings. 

The specific requirements for making an interlocutory application may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the particular issue or dispute that needs to be addressed.

What is the difference between interlocutory and consent orders?

Interlocutory orders are orders that are made by the court during the course of legal proceedings to address a particular issue or dispute. Consent orders, on the other hand, are orders that are agreed to by the parties without the need for a court hearing. Consent orders can be made at any stage of the proceedings, including before the case is commenced.

What are some example of interlocutory proceedings?

One example of interlocutory proceedings is an application for discovery. In this type of application, one party seeks an order from the court requiring the other party to provide certain documents or information that is relevant to the case. 

Another example is an application for security for costs, where one party seeks an order requiring the other party to provide security for the costs of the legal proceedings.

What is the difference between an interlocutory order and an interim hearing?

An interlocutory order is a decision made by the court to address a particular issue, while an interim hearing is a court hearing that is held to deal with urgent or preliminary matters that need to be addressed before the case can proceed further. 

While both interlocutory orders and interim hearings are used to address issues that arise during the course of legal proceedings, they are distinct from one another and may involve different procedures and rules.

Conclusion

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