Interim injunctions

CPR Part 25 allows for the making of interim injunctions. An injunction is an order of the Court that prevents the subject of the order from doing something. Breaching an injunction can amount to a contempt of court which could be punishable with a prison sentence. Normally injunctions are used to preserve the status quo, so that the litigation can be allowed to proceed to an outcome without events rendering the litigation moot. The principles to be applied arise from a case called American Cynamid Co (No 1) v Ethicon Limited.

The main American Cyanamid guidelines, in deciding whether to grant an interim injunction, are:

  • Whether there is a serious question to be tried.
  • What would be the balance of convenience of each party should the order be granted (in other words, where does that balance lie?)
  • Whether there are any special factors.

This has been supplemented by what Lord Diplock has called the “governing principle:”, ie. Whether an award of damages would be an adequate remedy, the basis for which he explained as follows:

“... the governing principle is that the court should first consider whether, if the plaintiff were to succeed at trial in establishing his right to a permanent injunction, he would be adequately compensated by an award of damages for the loss he would have sustained as a result of the defendant’s continuing to do what was sought to be enjoined between the time of the application and the time of the trial. If damages in the measure recoverable would be [an] adequate remedy and the defendant would be in a financial position to pay them, no interim injunction should normally be granted, however strong the plaintiff’s claim appeared to be at that stage.” (Emphasis added)

As with other applications, the Applicant should apply using an N244 form with supporting evidence.

Usually, applications for an interim remedy are made with notice. However, Part 25 allows for an application to proceed without notice if there are good reasons for doing so.