Injunction Definition (Best Definition: All You Need To Know)

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Injunction definition

What is the definition of injunction?

What does it mean in law?

Essentially, an injunction is an order from a court ordering a person or entity to do something or prohibiting the same to do something.

When the court requires that a person do something or perform certain duties, we generally refer to that as a mandatory injunction.

On the other hand, when the injunction is to restrict someone’s actions or prohibit them from doing something, we’ll refer to that as a restraining order or prohibitory injunction.

In essence, there are three types of injunctions:

  • Permanent injunctions
  • Preliminary injunction 
  • Temporary restraining order (RTO)

Fundamentally, these three types of injunctions accomplish the same objective.

The goal is to order that an individual do something or omit to do something.

What differentiates one type of injunction from the other is how long the court judgment produces legal effects.

A permanent injunction is permanent.

A preliminary injunction is for a limited period of time (typically for the duration of the legal proceedings).

A temporary injunction is for a very short period of time (typically issued before the start of a lawsuit).

What is the legal definition of injunction?

According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, the injunction definition is as follows:

An injunction is a court order requiring a person to do or cease doing a specific action. 
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In other words, an injunction is a court judgment ordering a person, individual or business entity to do something or to refrain from doing something.

Types of injunctions

Let’s look at, and define, the different types of injunctions.

The first type of injunction is a preliminary injunction.

A temporary injunction is a type of injunction that is issued right before the start of a legal proceeding.

In essence, the plaintiff initiates the process to request a temporary restraining order (RTO) without notice to the defendant.

The matter is heard on an ex parte basis and the court renders a judgment that will typically not exceed ten days.

A preliminary injunction (temporary injunction) is a type of judgment that is issued further to a hearing where both the plaintiff and defendant are heard.

The court may exercise its discretionary power to render a temporary judgment to protect or preserve the status quo until the hearing on the merits of the case.

Injunction elements

What are the elements to prove in court to get an injunction?

The factors the court considers in rendering a temporary injunction are the following (it may vary from one jurisdiction to the next):

  • The plaintiff’s chance of prevailing on the merits of the case
  • The plaintiff is exposed to the potential of suffering an irreparable harm
  • The balance of inconvenience to the parties favours the rendering of the injunction (balance of equities)

A permanent injunction, as the name suggests, is a permanent relief where the court orders a party to definitively and forever do or not do something.

Extraordinary remedy

An injunctive relief, by definition, is an extraordinary remedy or an equitable remedy.

The court awards such a remedy when a party must perform certain actions or cease and desist from performing certain actions to prevent irreparable harm to the plaintiff.

In awarding an injunction, the court will evaluate the pros and cons (the balance of inconveniences) to grant an injunction versus maintaining the status quo.

The court has the ultimate discretion and power to render a judgment that it considers will prevent the plaintiff from suffering further damages either in the very short term, medium-term or permanently.

Cease and desist order 

You may have heard of a cease and desist order.

What is it exactly?

Is it an injunction?

Essentially, a cease and desist order is an injunctive relief where the court orders a person or entity to stop doing something.

A cease and desist order will require the defendant “cease” or “stop” doing something.

Like any other injunctive orders, a cease-and-desist order can be issued on a temporary basis, preliminary basis, or permanent basis.

In many cases, a cease and desist order is issued when there is a suspicion that illegal activity is taking place until the parties are heard by the court.

If the illegal activity is proven on the merits, the cease and desist judgment may be declared permanently, requiring the defendant to perpetually comply with its terms.

Contempt of court 

When the court enjoins the defendant to do or not to do something, the defendant will need to immediately take the necessary steps and measures to ensure that its conduct, behaviour and actions comply with the court order.

In the event the defendant fails to observe the order of the court, the possible consequences can be significant.

In fact, a non-complying party can face the following sanctions:

  • Criminal penalties such as imprisonment 
  • Civil penalties such as monetary sanctions 

When a defendant is found to be in violation of an injunction, it is considered to be in contempt of court.

So what is the definition of a court injunction?

How do you define injunction in law?

An injunction is a judgment from a court or order from the authorities requiring a person or company to do something or not to do something.

For example, a company that is illegally competing against another further to a non-compete agreement may be prohibited from performing competitive acts further to an injunction.
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A court may render three types of injunctions: 

  • Permanent injunctions
  • Preliminary injunction 
  • Temporary restraining order (RTO)

A temporary restraining order is generally issued on the plaintiff’s application alone, exposing an urgent situation requiring the court to render a short-term injunction against a named defendant.

RTO’s are usually valid for less than ten days.

A preliminary injunction is when the court hears the plaintiff and defendant renders a judgment producing legal effects for over ten days but for no longer than the duration of the legal proceedings.

Eventually, when the parties are heard in a trial, the court may render a permanent injunction putting an end to the legal proceedings and imposing a permanent obligation on the defendant to do or not to do something.

  • Temporary restraining order
  • Preliminary injunction 
  • Permanent injunction
  • Mandatory injunction 
  • Interlocutory injunction 
  • Contempt of court 
  • Civil procedure 
  • Anti-suit injunction
  • Anti-injunction Act
  • Mareva injunction
  • Cease and desist 
  • Burden of proof 
  • Injunctive relief