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Careful Preparation of Committal Applications

The case of Hammound v Al Zawawi 2019 showcased the importance of adequate preparation when filing applications with the Family Court.

In this case, the Husband (H) was ordered by the Court to file his Form E (a financial statement) along with various other documents in May 2018. Two further orders were given extending the timeframe for his compliance – one in July 2018 and another in December 2018. However, H failed to file his Form E within that timeframe.

The Wife (W) applied for H’s committal to prison under the grounds that he had breached the three orders. W’s application was supported by affidavit evidence of H’s breach of the May 2018 order but no evidence was submitted regarding his breach of the latter two orders. W applied for the Court to waive this defect.

The Judge refused to waive the defect and stated that evidence was also required confirming the breach of the latter two orders. However, the Judge also ruled that the breach of the May 2018 order was sufficient grounds to impose a custodial sentence on H. As such, H was sentenced to three months in prison but due to the lack of evidence pertaining to the breach of the latter two orders, the sentence was suspended for seven days on the basis that he produced the documents ordered.

It is important to ensure that procedure is followed and the application be correctly prepared when filing applications with the Family Court. This case does confirm, however, that the Court will consider imposing a prison sentence when a party to the proceedings does not comply with the requirements of the Court. For help with any family law issue, please contact us:

Email Philip Elliott

Email Anna Jenkins

Family eBrief 12 April 2019