One of the most useful, yet extraordinary, remedies used by courts is the injunction or interim order. These orders either prevent something from happening or authorize an activity. Usually, an order takes the form of an injunction, but it may result in certain statutory remedies as well. Some examples include orders that:
- prevent the breach of a contract such as a non-competition agreement;
- prevent trespassing on property such as the blockage of land or water by protests; and
- prevent the destruction or disposal of property.
Courts may also grant positive orders authorizing certain things to take place, for example in an anton pillar order. Essentially, this is a private search warrant granted in rare cases where there is a very high likelihood that information, highly relevant to the dispute, may be destroyed.
Although the requirements to obtain such court orders vary according to the particular type of order sought or legislation involved, generally the following three questions are used:
- does the applicant have a legal right that is “serious” and not “frivolous”?
- has the applicant suffered “irreparable harm” – something that cannot be cured by monetary compensation?
- does the maintenance of the status quo favour the applicant or the respondent?
In many cases the underlying dispute is resolved soon after the court’s decision. It’s natural because the successful party’s legal position will remain unchanged until trial, which is months or years away.
Our team has significant experience acting for parties seeking and resisting injuctions or interim court orders.