An injunction is a
legal Law is a set of rules that are created and are enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. It has been vari ...
equitable remedy Equitable remedies are judicial remedies developed by courts of equity from about the time of Henry VIII to provide more flexible responses to changing social conditions than was possible in precedent-based common law. Equitable remedies were g ...
in the form of a special court order that compels a
party A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, recreation, or as part of a festival or other commemoration or celebration of a special occasion. A party will often feature f ...
to do or refrain from specific acts. ("The
court of appeals A court of appeals, also called a court of appeal, appellate court, appeal court, court of second instance or second instance court, is any court of law that is empowered to hear an appeal of a trial court or other lower tribunal. In much of ...
... has exclusive
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
to enjoin, set aside, suspend (in whole or in part), or to determine the validity of...."); ("Limit on injunctive relief'); '' Jennings v. Rodriguez'', 583 U.S. ___, ___
138 S.Ct. 830
851 (2018); '' Wheaton College v. Burwell''
134 S.Ct. 2806
2810-11 (2014) ("Under our
precedent A precedent is a principle or rule established in a previous legal case that is either binding on or persuasive for a court or other tribunal when deciding subsequent cases with similar issues or facts. Common-law legal systems place great valu ...
s, an injunction is appropriate only if (1) it is necessary or appropriate in aid of our jurisdiction, and (2) the
legal rights Some philosophers distinguish two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', '' fundamental'' an ...
at issue are indisputably clear.") (internal quotation marks and brackets omitted); '' Lux v. Rodrigues''
561 U.S. 1306
1308 (2010); '' Correctional Services Corp. v. Malesko''
534 U.S. 61
74 (2001) (stating that "injunctive relief has long been recognized as the proper means for preventing entities from acting unconstitutionally."); '' Nken v. Holder''
556 U.S. 418
(2009); see also ''Alli v. Decker''
650 F.3d 1007
1011 (3d Cir. 2011); ''Andreiu v. Ashcroft''
253 F.3d 477
482-85 (9th Cir. 2001) (
en banc In law, an en banc session (; French for "in bench"; also known as ''in banc'', ''in banco'' or ''in bank'') is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court (before the entire bench) rather than by one judge or a smaller ...
"When a
court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accor ...
employs the extraordinary remedy of injunction, it directs the conduct of a party, and does so with the backing of its full coercive powers."'' Nken v. Holder''
556 U.S. 418
428 (2009) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
A party that fails to comply with an injunction faces criminal or civil penalties, including possible
monetary Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts, such as taxes, in a particular country or socio-economic context. The primary functions which distinguish money are a ...
sanctions and even
imprisonment Imprisonment is the restraint of a person's liberty, for any cause whatsoever, whether by authority of the government, or by a person acting without such authority. In the latter case it is "false imprisonment". Imprisonment does not necessari ...
. They can also be charged with
contempt of court Contempt of court, often referred to simply as "contempt", is the crime of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice, and dignity of the cour ...
. Counterinjunctions are injunctions that stop or reverse the enforcement of another injunction.


The injunction is an equitable remedy, that is, a remedy that originated in the English courts of equity. Like other equitable remedies, it has traditionally been given when a wrong cannot be effectively remedied by an award of money damages. (The doctrine that reflects this is the requirement that an injunction can be given only when there is "no adequate remedy at law.") Injunctions are intended to make whole again someone whose rights have been violated. Nevertheless, when deciding whether to grant an injunction, courts also take into account the interests of non-parties (that is, the public interest). When deciding whether to give an injunction, and deciding what its scope should be, courts give special attention to questions of fairness and good faith. One manifestation of this is that injunctions are subject to equitable defenses, such as laches and
unclean hands Clean hands, sometimes called the clean hands doctrine, unclean hands doctrine, or dirty hands doctrine, is an equitable defense in which the defendant argues that the plaintiff is not entitled to obtain an equitable remedy because the plainti ...
. Injunctions are given in many different kinds of cases. They can prohibit future violations of the law, such as trespass to real property, infringement of a patent, or the violation of a constitutional right (e.g., the free exercise of religion). Or they can require the defendant to repair past violations of the law. An injunction can require someone to do something, like clean up an oil spill or remove a spite fence. Or it can prohibit someone from doing something, like using an illegally obtained trade secret. An injunction that requires conduct is called a "mandatory injunction." An injunction that prohibits conduct is called a "prohibitory injunction." Many injunctions are both—that is, they have both mandatory and prohibitory components, because they require some conduct and forbid other conduct. When an injunction is given, it can be enforced with equitable enforcement mechanisms such as contempt. It can also be modified or dissolved (upon a proper motion to the court) if circumstances change in the future. These features of the injunction allow a court granting one to manage the behavior of the parties. That is the most important distinction between the injunction and another non-monetary remedy in American law, the declaratory judgment. Another way these two remedies are distinguished is that the declaratory judgment is sometimes available at an earlier point in a dispute than the injunction.



In the state of
New South Wales ) , nickname = , image_map = New South Wales in Australia.svg , map_caption = Location of New South Wales in AustraliaCoordinates: , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name = Australia , established_title = Before federation , es ...
, a court may grant an apprehended violence order (AVO) to a person who fears violence, harassment, abuse, or
stalking Stalking is unwanted and/or repeated surveillance by an individual or group toward another person. Stalking behaviors are interrelated to harassment and intimidation and may include following the victim in person or monitoring them. The ter ...
. The order prohibits the defendant from assaulting, harassing, threatening, stalking, or intimidating the person seeking the order. Other conditions may be included, such as a prohibition against contacting the person or attempting to find the person online. A court may issue the order if it believes a person has reasonable grounds for their fears or has no reasonable grounds for their fears. Non-compliance may result in the imposition of a fine, imprisonment, or both, and deportation.


Interim injunctions are a provisional form of injunctive relief, which can compel a party to do something (mandatory injunction) or stop it from doing something (prohibitory injunction). A plaintiff seeking an interim injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits, that he is likely to suffer severe harm in the absence of preliminary relief, and that an injunction is in the public interest. In Turkish law, interim injunction is an extraordinary remedy that is never awarded as of right. In each case, courts balance the competing claims of injury and consider the likely hardship on the defendant.

United States


Injunctions have been especially important at two moments in American history. First, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, federal courts used injunctions to break strikes by unions. For example, after the
United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States, a federal republic located primarily in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a feder ...
successfully used an injunction to outlaw the Pullman boycott in 1894 in '' In re Debs'', employers found that they could obtain federal court injunctions to ban strikes and organizing activities of all kinds by unions. These injunctions were often extremely broad; one injunction issued by a federal court in the 1920s effectively barred the United Mine Workers of America from talking to workers who had signed yellow dog contracts with their employers. Unable to limit what they called "government by injunction" in the courts, labor and its allies persuaded the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is bicameral, composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the U.S. Capitol in Was ...
in 1932 to pass the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which imposed so many procedural and substantive limits on the federal courts' power to issue injunctions that it effectively prohibited federal court from issuing injunctions in cases arising out of labor disputes. A number of states followed suit and enacted "Little Norris-LaGuardia Acts" that imposed similar limitations on state courts' powers. The courts have since recognized a limited exception to the Norris-LaGuardia Act's strict limitations in those cases in which a party seeks injunctive relief to enforce the
grievance A grievance () is a wrong or hardship suffered, real or supposed, which forms legitimate grounds of complaint In legal terminology, a complaint is any formal legal document that sets out the facts and legal reasons (see: cause of action ...
arbitration Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that resolves disputes outside the judiciary courts. The dispute will be decided by one or more persons (the 'arbitrators', 'arbiters' or ' arbitral tribunal'), which renders the ...
provisions of a collective bargaining
agreement Agreement may refer to: Agreements between people and organizations * Gentlemen's agreement, not enforceable by law * Trade agreement, between countries * Consensus, a decision-making process * Contract, enforceable in a court of law ** Meeting of ...
. Second, injunctions were crucial to the second half of the twentieth century in the desegregation of American schools. Federal courts gave injunctions that carried out the command of '' Brown v Board of Education'' to integrate public schools in the United States, and at times courts took over the management of public schools in order to ensure compliance. (An injunction that puts a court in the position of taking over and administering an institution—such as a school, a prison, or a hospital—is often called a "structural injunction".) Injunctions remain widely used to require government officials to comply with the Constitution, and they are also frequently used in private law disputes about intellectual property, real property, and contracts. Many state and federal statutes, including environmental statutes, civil rights statutes and employment-discrimination statutes, are enforced with injunctions.


Injunctions in the United States tend to come in three main forms, temporary injunctions, preliminary injunctions and permanent injunctions. For both temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions, the goal is usually to preserve the status quo until the court is able to decide the case.

=Temporary restraining orders

= A special kind of injunction that may be issued before trial is called a "temporary restraining order" or TRO. A TRO may be issued without notice to the other party or a hearing. A TRO will be given only for a short period of time before a court can schedule a hearing at which the restrained person may appear and contest the order. If the TRO is contested, the court must decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction. Temporary restraining orders are often, but not exclusively, given to prevent domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or harassment.

=Preliminary injunctions

= Preliminary injunctions are given before trial. Because they are issued at an early stage, before the court has heard the evidence and made a decision in the case, they are more rarely given. The requirements for a preliminary injunction tend to be the same as for a permanent injunction, with the additional requirement that the party asking for the injunction is likely to succeed on the merits.

=Permanent injunctions

= Permanent injunctions are issued after trial. Different federal and state courts sometimes have slightly different requirements for obtaining a permanent injunction. The Supreme Court enumerated the traditional four-factor test in '' eBay Inc. v. MercExchange, L.L.C.'' as: # the plaintiff has suffered irreparable injury; # remedies available at law are inadequate to compensate that injury; # considering the balance of hardships between the plaintiff and defendant, a remedy in equity is warranted; and # the public interest would not be disserved by an injunction. The balance of hardships inquiry is also sometimes called the "undue hardship defense". A stay pending appeal is a mechanism allowing a losing party to delay enforcement of an injunction while appeal is pending after final judgment has been granted by a lower court.


The DOJ and the FTC have investigated patent holders in the United States for seeking preliminary injunctions against accused infringers of standard-essential patents, or patents that the patent holder must license on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. There is an ongoing debate among legal and economic scholars with major implications for antitrust policy in the United States as well as in other countries over the statutory limits to the patent holder's right to seek and obtain injunctive relief against infringers of standard-essential patents. Citing concerns of the absence of competition facing the patent holder once its technology is locked-in to the
standard Standard may refer to: Symbols * Colours, standards and guidons, kinds of military signs * Standard (emblem), a type of a large symbol or emblem used for identification Norms, conventions or requirements * Standard (metrology), an object th ...
, some scholars argue that the holder of a standard-essential patent should face antitrust liability when seeking an injunction against an implementer of a standard. Other scholars assert that patent holders are not contractually restrained from pursuing injunctions for standard-essential patent claims and that patent law is already capable of determining whether an injunction against an infringer of standard-essential patents will impose a net cost on consumers, thus obviating the role of antitrust enforcement.

United Kingdom

Interim injunctions

Interim injunctions or interim orders are granted as a means of providing interim relief while a case is being heard, to prevent actions being implemented which potentially may be barred by a final ruling.


In England and Wales, injunctions whose existence and details may not be legally reported, in addition to facts or allegations which may not be disclosed, have been issued; they have been informally dubbed "super-injunctions". An example was the super-injunction raised in September 2009 by Carter-Ruck solicitors on behalf of oil trader Trafigura, prohibiting the reporting of an internal Trafigura report into the 2006 Ivory Coast toxic waste dump scandal. The existence of the super-injunction was revealed only when it was referred to in a parliamentary question that was subsequently circulated on the Internet ( parliamentary privilege protects statements by MPs in Parliament which would otherwise be held to be in contempt of court). Before it could be challenged in court, the injunction was varied to permit reporting of the question. By long legal tradition, parliamentary proceedings may be reported without restriction. Parliamentary proceedings are covered by absolute privilege, but the reporting of those proceedings in newspapers is only covered by qualified privilege. Another example of the use of a super-injunction was in a libel case in which a plaintiff who claimed he was defamed by family members in a dispute over a multimillion-pound family trust obtained anonymity for himself and for his relatives.
Roy Greenslade Roy Greenslade (born 31 December 1946) is a British author and freelance journalist, and a former professor of journalism. He worked in the UK newspaper industry from the 1960s onwards. As a media commentator, he wrote a daily blog from 2006 to ...
credits the former editor of ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and '' The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the G ...
Alan Rusbridger Alan Charles Rusbridger (born 29 December 1953) is a British journalist, who was formerly editor-in-chief of ''The Guardian'' and then principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Rusbridger became editor-in-chief of ''The Guardian'' in 1995, havi ...
, with coining the word "super-injunction" in an article about the Trafigura affair in September 2009. The term "hyper-injunction" has also been used to describe an injunction similar to a super-injunction but also including an order that the injunction must not be discussed with members of Parliament, journalists, or lawyers. One known hyper-injunction was obtained at the High Court in 2006, preventing its subject from saying that paint used in water tanks on passenger ships can break down and release potentially toxic chemicals. This example became public knowledge in Parliament under parliamentary privilege. By May 2011, ''
Private Eye ''Private Eye'' is a British fortnightly satirical and current affairs news magazine, founded in 1961. It is published in London and has been edited by Ian Hislop since 1986. The publication is widely recognised for its prominent criticism ...
'' claimed to be aware of 53 super-injunctions and anonymised privacy injunctions, though Lord Neuberger's report into the use of super-injunctions revealed that only two super-injunctions had been granted since January 2010. Many media sources were wrongly describing all gagging orders as super-injunctions. The widespread media coverage of super-injunctions led to a drop in numbers after 2011; however four were granted in the first five months of 2015.

European Union

Dynamic Injunction

Injunctions defined by the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a President. It includes an administrative bod ...
injunctions which can be issued for instance in cases in which materially the same website becomes available immediately after issuing the injunction with a different IP address or URL and which is drafted in a way that allows to also cover the new IP address or URL without the need for a new judicial procedure to obtain a new injunction.

Live Blocking Injunction

An injunction described by the European Commission as allowing the repeated blocking of a website every time a live broadcast is in progress. These injunctions are generally used during live sporting events.

See also

* * * * (Mareva injunction) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links

On the Difference Between Lawsuit, a Restraining Order, and an Injunction
{{DEFAULTSORT:Injunction Equity (law) Judicial remedies Judicial legal terminology Common law legal terminology Court orders