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A guide to injunctions

Injunction

Trainee solicitor George Farrer, who qualifies into the Dispute Resolution team in September, explains what an injunction is, when one can be sought, and the procedures which must be followed.

What is an injunction?

An injunction is a court order that either:

  • Requires a party to do something (a mandatory injunction)
  • Prohibits a party from doing something (a prohibitory injunction)

A party which breaches an injunction can he held in contempt of court, which can lead to imprisonment.

Types of injunction

There are many types of injunction, but a few common types include:

Search Orders

These require a party to allow another party onto its premises for the purpose of preserving evidence.

Freezing Orders

These prevent a party from dealing with or disposing with its assets. For example this type of injunction could freeze party’s bank account.

Orders directing a party to provide information

This could be information about the location of property or assets.

When is an injunction sought?

An application for an injunction is often sought in situations where a party wishes to prevent anticipated wrongdoing or deny another party from benefitting from a wrongdoing.  

An injunction can be made before or after court proceedings have begun.

Generally the court can grant an injunction before proceedings have been issued when the matter is urgent or a situation where, for example, there is a real risk that if the injunction is not granted evidence may be destroyed.

An injunction can be granted on an interim basis or a permanent (final) basis. An interim injunction tends to be granted to ensure that the present state of affairs remains pending a final trial, whereas a final injunction may be granted either by consent or following a result at trial.

What type of cases can involve an injunction?

There are many types of cases in which an injunction may be beneficial, for example:

Property

An injunction may be sought to prevent neighbours from doing something or causing a nuisance.

Employment

An injunction may used by a company to prevent a former director from setting up in competition with it.

Commercial

An injunction could be used to prevent a party to a contract from selling/moving goods which it does not own under the contract.

Construction

An injunction could prevent a party from knocking down or building something.

The principles behind an injunction

While the court will take into account different considerations for each, there are a few general principles applicable to most injunctions.

1. An injunction is a discretionary remedy

The court is not obliged to grant an injunction and will only grant an injunction when it appears to be just to do so.

2. There must be a valid claim underpinning the injunction application

The party applying for the injunction must have a legitimate and valid underlying claim behind the reason for the injunction. In other words, the applying party must be able to show its legal rights have been or are likely to be undermined by the other party.

3. Damages must not be an adequate remedy

The injunction will only be granted if financial compensation would be an adequate remedy for the claimant. This means that if an award of money would suffice, an injunction will not be granted.

Applying for an injunction

The application is made to the court which is looking after the main claim. Depending on the type and nature of the dispute, an injunction may be obtained with or without giving notice to the other side.

Generally, the application must:

  • State what type of injunction (order) the applicant is seeking
  • Give reasons why the applicant is seeking the injunction
  • Be supported by evidence (sometimes this must be supported by affidavit, which is a written sworn statement of fact)

It is usually necessary that evidence to support the application must be gathered rapidly and there should be no delay in making the application to the court.

How much does an injunction cost?

The cost of applying for and obtaining an injunction will always depend on the circumstances of the case. For example, an urgent injunction that requires lots of evidence will rack up costs quickly.

Generally, the majority of injunction applications are expensive and time consuming. Sometimes, though, an injunction is the only way in which the applicant can minimise damage to its business or property and bring the dispute to an end quickly.

For more information on injunctions contact George Farrer here.

About the Author

Georgina Farrer profile photo

Georgina Farrer

Georgina is a Solicitor in the firm's Dispute Resolution team.

Published: Friday 18th May 2018
Categorised: Commercial Client, Commercial Dispute Resolution, Lawyers for Business, Legal Services in Newcastle, Penrith, West Cumbria

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