What is an injunction?
An injunction is a legal remedy generally taken out to stop someone carrying out or continuing with a particular action.
An injunction can take several forms but will usually involve an urgent application to court. The reason for this is that in order to get an injunction the individual will have to show that there is no other suitable remedy other than an injunction.
Injunctions have been the subject of news headlines recently as several high-profile celebrities have tried to protect their privacy with the use of ‘super injunctions’.
Examples of injunctions
An example of an injunction is when an individual, believing they may be in danger of being attacked or harassed by another individual, uses the court to prevent the individual from approaching them.
A common example would perhaps be if a couple split up and the ex-wife fears for her safety and takes out an injunction against her ex-husband. If the court agreed that an injunction was appropriate they would usually prescribe an order that the ex-husband was not allowed to go within a certain distance from the ex-wife’s home and not able to approach her.
Injunctions can, however, take positive forms in the sense that an individual may make an injunction that compels an individual to do something. An example might be an injunction seeking the return of documentation.
This is quite common when two parties have split from each other and yet still have each other’s property in their possession. Quite often during a messy divorce things can turn ugly and one party may choose not to return items belonging to the other party. If, for example, these items where crucial to the running of one party’s business the courts would be likely to grant an immediate injunction ordering the return of the items.
Super injunctions have been in the news recently due to their unique nature and their potential impact on freedom of expression and privacy. A super injunction is granted simultaneously with another injunction in order to prevent the injunction itself from being placed in the public domain.
This is best illustrated through an example in which a celebrity discovers a newspaper is about to run a story about them and as a result tries to obtain an injunction preventing the release of the story. In addition to the halting the release of the story, the celebrity will also want the fact that they have taken out an injunction hidden so that no one would guess why they had done so and, essentially, get the story anyway.
Breaking an injunction
If you break an injunction you are in contempt of court and can, therefore, be sent to prison. The court will look into the circumstances of the breach, but nobody should underestimate the consequences of breaking an injunction. It is for this reason that many individuals seek injunctions when they wish to protect themselves from an abusive ex-partner.
Injunctions are used in a wide variety of different legal aspects and it is, therefore, best to contact a solicitor to see if your particular situation is suited. A solicitor will be able to give legal advice as to whether an injunction is suitable, and if it is likely to succeed.