What is an Injunction? - Definition, Types, Process & Example

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  • 0:01 What Is an Injunction?
  • 0:58 Requirements
  • 1:36 Types
  • 2:35 Process for Obtainment
  • 2:52 Example
  • 3:45 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

After completing this lesson, you will know what constitutes an injunction. Additionally, you will understand the different kinds of injunctions, as well as the general requirements and procedures for obtaining an injunction. Finally, you will review an example of this legal process.

What is an Injunction?

What if you move into a new house, and your new neighbors play loud music in the middle of the night, every single day? What happens if a baseball stadium is built next to your house, and lights shine in on you every night preventing you from sleeping? These are situations where you may ask the offending party to stop doing something that is bothersome and a nuisance to you. However, there are times when simply asking does not resolve the problem. In such a case, you may seek to go to court to ask the judge to intervene in the situation and force the offensive party from continuing to behave in the problematic manner. In order to do so, you would file an injunction.

An injunction is a legal remedy which is imposed by a court. In simple terms, an injunction means that one of the parties to a certain action must either do something or refrain from doing something. Once the court makes its decision, the parties must abide by the ruling. If the party fails to adhere to the injunction, there can be stiff monetary penalties and even imprisonment in certain instances.

Requirements

In most jurisdictions, an injunction will not be granted unless the party seeking the injunction can prove that they will cause irreparable injury if the court does not grant the injunction. Irreparable injury means that the harm inflicted on one party is so bad that no monetary or other type of payment is a good enough reward for putting up with the circumstances. In addition, the party must show there is no other remedy available. Furthermore, the party must demonstrate that if the court balances the parties' interests, the balance will tilt in favor of the party seeking the injunction.

Types

There are different kinds of injunctions: a preliminary injunction, a temporary restraining order and a permanent injunction. A preliminary injunction is one which is given to a party prior to a trial. Since a full trial has not yet occurred, the courts are usually reluctant to issue this type of injunction unless it is absolutely necessary and great damage may occur without the preliminary injunction.

Another type of injunction is known as the temporary restraining order. This type of injunction is very limited in time and scope. The purpose of the temporary restraining order is to give the court time to review the matter in order to determine whether to grant a preliminary injunction.

On the other hand, a permanent injunction is one granted after the trial regarding the matter. A permanent injunction can be issued after a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. If a permanent injunction is granted, it means that the party must either stop acting or begin acting in a certain way permanently.

Process for Obtainment

Every jurisdiction has a different process for obtaining an injunction. However, the usual way to obtain an injunction is to file the appropriate complaint and supporting documentation with the court. Thereafter, there may or may not be oral arguments about the injunction; this will depend upon the rules of the particular court involved.

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