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Injunctions to prevent nuisance or annoyance (IPNAs)

This content applies to England

An injunction to prevent antisocial behaviour can be granted against any person aged 10 or over. A local authority or other social landlord can apply for an injunction to prevent housing-related antisocial behaviour.

Power to grant injunctions

An injunction to prevent nuisance or annoyance (IPNA) is also known a Part 1 injunction. With effect from 23 March 2015, a county court may grant an IPNA against any person aged 10 or over if it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities (ie the civil standard of proof), that:[1]

  • a person has engaged, or threatens to engage, in antisocial behaviour, and
  • it is just and convenient to grant the injunction for the purpose of preventing that person from engaging in antisocial behaviour.

Antisocial behaviour is defined as conduct:[2]

  • that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person
  • capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person's occupation of residential premises
  • capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.

Applications against adults are made in the county court or High Court. Applications against those under 18 years old are made in the youth court.

The Home Office has issued statutory guidance on the use of IPNAs.[3]

The IPNA replaces a number of other antisocial behaviour injunctions and orders. See 'Transitional Provisions' below.

Types of IPNA

There are housing and non-housing related IPNAs.

Housing-related IPNAs

Housing-related IPNAs can be granted where there is conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to: [4]

  • a person in relation to that person's occupation of residential premises (regardless of tenure), or
  • any person that directly or indirectly relates to the housing management functions of a local authority or other social landlord.

Non-housing IPNAs

Non-housing related IPNAs are primarily designed to tackle antisocial behaviour in public places, such as A&E waiting rooms or bus stations. A non-housing related IPNA can be granted where the behaviour does not affect:

  • the housing management functions of a social landlord, or
  • people in their homes.

Who can apply for an IPNA

Only the following bodies can apply for a housing-related IPNA:[5]

  • local authority
  • private registered provider of social housing (PRPSH)
  • charitable housing trust
  • housing action trust
  • police.

The above bodies and Transport for London, NHS Protect and the Environment Agency can apply for a non-housing related IPNA.

A local authority or the police can apply for a housing-related IPNA against a person in any tenure, including privately rented accommodation and owner-occupied housing. A PRPSH, charitable housing trust or housing action trust can only apply for a housing-related IPNA where the antisocial behaviour relates to its housing management functions.[6]

An application for a housing-related IPNA can be made in relation to a person living in or visiting residential premises.

Terms of an IPNA

Prohibitions and positive requirements

An IPNA must include a:[7]

  • prohibition, requiring a person to stop doing something (for example playing music in the home after 8pm at night), and/or 
  • a positive requirement aimed at getting a person to deal with the underlying cause of her/his antisocial behaviour (for example attending mediation classes with neighbours or an alcohol misuse course).

The prohibitions or positive requirements must be reasonable and, so far as practicable, must not:[8]

  • interfere with a  person's time at work or school (or other educational establishment)
  • conflict with requirements of any other court orders in force against that person.

Exclusion from the home

An IPNA can exclude an adult from her/his home where the court thinks that:[9]

  • the person has engaged in violence, or threatened violence, against another person, or
  • there is a significant risk of harm to another person.

Harm includes serious ill-treatment or abuse, whether physical or not.[10] As such it could include emotional or psychological harm, such as harassment or racial abuse.

The power to exclude from the home does not apply to people aged under 18 years old.

Statutory guidance advises that the court will pay special attention to proportionality in light of the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and as such applications for exclusion should only be made in extreme cases.[11]

Time-limits

For adults, any prohibition or requirement in the IPNA can be for a fixed period or 'until further order'. In the case of under 18 year olds the maximum period is 12 months.[12]

Interim injunctions and 'without notice' applications

An interim IPNA can be granted pending a final hearing in order to prevent further antisocial behaviour during proceedings. In exceptional or urgent cases, for example where it is necessary to stop serious harm to victims, an interim injunction can be applied for 'without notice' to the alleged perpetrator.

An interim injunction made following a 'without notice' application can only include prohibitions, and not positive requirements.[13]

Power of arrest

The court can attach a power of arrest to any prohibition or requirement in the IPNA where:[14]

  • the antisocial behaviour, consists of violence, or the threat of violence, against other persons, or
  • there is a significant risk of harm to other persons.

A power of arrest cannot be attached to a requirement that the perpetrator participates in a particular activity.

A police officer can arrest the perpetrator without warrant if s/he has 'reasonable cause' to believe that a breach of the IPNA has occurred. The police must then present the perpetrator to court within 24 hours of their arrest (except on Sundays, Christmas Day or Good Friday). [15]

Where a power of arrest has not been attached to the IPNA, the applicant can apply to the court that granted the injunction (or to a Justice of the Peace where the perpetrator is under 18) for an arrest warrant if it believes that the perpetrator has breached a term of the injunction.[16]

Hearsay evidence

Hearsay evidence and evidence from professional witnesses is permitted in all proceedings relating to IPNAs. Statutory guidance advises that this allows for protecting the identities of those who are unable to give evidence due to fear or intimidation.[17]

Variation and discharge of injunctions

The applicant or the perpetrator can apply to the court to vary or discharge the IPNA. The powers of the court to vary the injunction include to:[18]

  • remove or add a prohibition or requirement
  • reduce or extend the period for which a prohibition or requirement has effect
  • attach a power of arrest.

Waiving a breach of an injunction

An applicant may waive the breach of an injunction. However, there will be circumstances where the court is not willing to accept that the consent of a person for whose benefit an injunction is obtained is sufficient to waive a breach. This is most likely where there is a public interest in maintaining that order, for example where an antisocial injunction had been put in place to restrict the areas a perpetrator can access.[19]

Penalties for breach of IPNA

The maximum penalty for adults who breach a provision set out in an IPNA is up to two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine. Under 18-year olds can be penalised by a supervision order, or for 14 to 17 year olds in the most serious cases, by a detention order of a maximum of three months.[20]

Although the breach of an IPNA is a civil contempt of court, the criminal standard of proof, ie beyond reasonable doubt, is applied in proceedings in the county court or youth court.

In addition, where a court has found there has been a breach of an IPNA, this could lead to eviction of a secure or assured tenant under the mandatory ground for antisocial behaviour.[21] The ground for possession will only apply when the breach occurred:

  • in the locality, or
  • elsewhere if the IPNA was granted in order to prevent harassment, alarm or distress to:
    • a person who lives, or has a right to occupy accommodation, in the locality
    • the landlord or someone employed (whether or not by the landlord) in connection with the landlord's housing management functions.

Further, the ground for possession will not apply if the breach of the IPNA only relates to a failure to participate in a particular activity.

For more information see the pages Mandatory ASB ground: Secure tenancies and Mandatory ASB ground: Assured tenancies.

Legal aid

Legal aid is available for people accused of antisocial behaviour and threatened with injunctions or committal following a breach of an injunction. Both housing and criminal legal aid solicitors can provide advice and representation at court. More information about the civil legal aid scheme can be found in the section Civil legal aid.

Transitional provisions

IPNAs replace:[22]

  • Anti-social Behaviour Injunctions (ASBIs) [23]
  • injunctions against unlawful use of premises [24]
  • injunctions against breach of tenancy agreement [25]
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) 'on application', ie granted under civil proceedings [26].

From 23 March 2015, a court can no longer grant any of the above. An injunction or order made against an individual before that date will continue to have effect and be dealt with under the earlier legislation until 23 March 2020, any still in force will be treated as an IPNA.[27]

The Sentencing Council's definitive guidelines for breach of antisocial behaviour orders was held to apply equally to sentencing for breach of antisocial behaviour orders and injunctions made in the civil courts.[28] As with IPNAs, the breach of an antisocial behaviour injunction or ASBO can lead to fines and/or imprisonment.

ASBOs 'on conviction'[29] (ie the ASBO was made in addition to a sentence imposed in respect of a relevant offence) were replaced by Criminal Behaviour Orders with effect from 20 October 2014. For more information see the page Criminal Behaviour Orders.

To explain the changes the Home Office produced a factsheet entitled Replacing the ASBO.

Wales

The information on this page applies only to England. Go to Shelter Cymru for information relating to Wales.

[1]  s.1 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement No.8, Saving and Transitional Provisions) Order 2015 SI 2015/373;  .

[2] s.2(1) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[3] s.19 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; ch2.2 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers, Home Office, July 2014.[s.2(1) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.]

[4] s.2(1)(a)-(b) and s.2(3) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[5] s.2(2) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[6] s.5(3) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[7] s.1(4) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[8] s.1(5) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[9] s.13(1) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[10] s.20(1) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[11] p24 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers , Home Office, July 2014. 

[12] s.1(6) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[13] s.7 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[14] s.4 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[15] s.9 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.  .

[16] s.10 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. 

[17] s.10 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; p26 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers, Home Office, July 2014. 

[18] s.8 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[19] Accent Foundation Ltd v Lee [2007] EWCA Civ 665.

[20] p26 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers , Home Office, July 2014.

[21] s.84A Housing Act 1985; ground 7A, Sch.2 Housing Act 1988

[22] s.21 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[23] under s.153A Housing Act 1996.

[24] under s.153B Housing Act 1996.

[25] under s.153D Housing Act 1996.

[26] under s.1 Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

[27] s.21 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[28] Amicus Horizon Ltd v Thorley [2012] EWCA Civ 817; Doey v Islington LBC [2012] EWCA Civ 1825.

[29] under s.1C Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

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