Ansah v Ansah: CA 1977

Ormrod LJ: ‘Orders made ex parte are anomalies in our system of justice which generally demands service or notice of the proposed proceedings on the opposite party: see Craig v Karssen [1943] KB 256, 262. Nevertheless, the power of the court to intervene immediately and without notice in proper cases is essential to the administration of justice. But this power must be used with great caution and only in circumstances in which it is really necessary to act immediately.’ Such circumstances tend to occur more frequently in family disputes than in other types of litigation: ‘but even in such cases the court should only act ex parte in an emergency when the interests of justice or the protection of the applicant or a child clearly demands immediate intervention by the court. Such cases should be extremely rare, since any urgent application can be heard inter partes on two days’ notice to the other side . . Circumstances, of course, may arise when prior notice cannot be given to the side; for example, cases where . . a spouse, usually the wife, is so frightened of the other spouse that some protection must be provided against a violent response to service of proceedings, but the court must be fairly satisfied that such protection is necessary.’


Ormrod LJ, Stamp LJ and Sir John Pennycuick


[1977] Fam 138

Cited by:

CitedMoat Housing Group-South Ltd v Harris and Another CA 16-Mar-2005
The defendant family was served without notice with an anti-social behaviour order ordering them to leave their home immediately, and making other very substantial restrictions. The evidence in large part related to other people entirely.
CitedJones v Jones CA 19-Mar-1993
H appealed against his sentence of six months imprisonment for contempt of court in breaching a non-molestation order.
Held: Whilst Ansah could not be used to establish a principle that imprisonment for contempt should be a last resort only, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Family, Litigation Practice

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.223625