What is an injunction?
Having an injunction granted against someone (or a business) is not easy. It is expensive, risky and you need to prove that irreparable harm will be done to a person or a company which can’t be fixed by any amount of compensation.
Put simply, an injunction is a court order that prohibits one from doing something and/or forces them to do something. Now, this could be put in place to prevent something that is considered private, confidential, defamatory or inaccurate from being published or shared, but it could also be enforced to prevent harassment from occurring.
Some of the common types of injunctions that are enforced are:
- sale of land
- breach of contract
- disclosure of confidential information and disclosure of trade secrets
- breach of a restraint of trade clause
If granted, the person receiving the injunction must cease what they had planned to do; either in the short-term until both parties can go to court or until a final injunction is granted.
An interim injunction: urgent matters for a short amount of time
An interim injunction is just that – something in the interim/the short-term. It is in place until each party can attend court for the application of an interlocutory injunction and is granted when there is not sufficient time to notify the other party.
The same laws and consequences apply to an interim injunction as they do to an interlocutory injunction; where the individual could be imprisoned, fined or have their assets seized if they do not comply.
An interlocutory injunction – status-quo until trial
An interlocutory injunction is sought to maintain the ‘status quo’ pending a full hearing of all evidence and arguments at a proper trial.
When seeking an interlocutory injunction, you must establish that:
- there is a serious question to be tried;
- there is a matter of urgency;
- damages will not adequately repair the harm; and
- the balance of convenience favours granting an injunction
An affidavit must also be prepared which sets out the evidence required to support the injunction. The Court will not grant an injunction without this.
When would an injunction not be granted?
The Court may decide not to grant an injunction, even if you have satisfied all of the requirements and provided all of the evidence and supporting documentation required. Some examples of when a Court would not grant an injunction may include:
- the plaintiff has delayed too long in seeking an injunction, so that it would be unjust to the defendant to grant an injunction;
- the plaintiff has acquiesced in the conduct of the defendant being complained about; and
- some alternative order would do justice between the parties.
As mentioned earlier on, seeking an injunction is very risky because even if it is granted by the Court, there is a risk that it may be ‘lifted’. Following this, the plaintiff could then be exposed to financial damages claimed by the defendant . This is an expensive exercise.
If you have been granted an injunction or are looking to enforce one, consult with a lawyer for further guidance and advice.