Our Appellate Victory for Domestic Violence Survivors



The Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law and its pro bono partners, the Family Violence Appellate Project and Manatt, Phelps & Philips LLP, won a significant victory for domestic violence survivors last week. To read the published decision which is now binding legal precedent for all trial courts in California, click here.


The Center’s client, Priscila N., had a domestic violence restraining order granted to her by a judge in juvenile court. After the case was over, the restraining order was transferred to family court where Priscila was getting a divorce from her abusive spouse. When Priscila needed to renew her restraining order, for technical reasons, the family law judge said he could not do it, and she would have to start all over.


The justices on the appellate bench agreed entirely with the lawyers from the Harriett Buhai Center’s pro bono team, and said that the Legislature intended to maximize protection of victims and did not want to impose barriers, such as the ones in this case, on individuals seeking to extend their restraining orders. They ordered the family law judge to renew the restraining order either for 5 years or life. In the future, victims with domestic violence restraining orders may be able to renew them regardless of which court they started in.

Your Contribution to this Case

The support of private individuals made it possible for the Harriett Buhai Center to spend time on important legal issues that arose in this case and happen in others. To enable this work to continue, please invest in the Harriett Buhai Center today.


Image: Legal Team (L-R): Holly Leonard (Harriett Buhai Center) Anya Emerson (FVAP). Missing: Joanna McCallum (Manatt)