Urgent Court Applications

If you find yourself in a dispute with someone where there is a real risk that the other party may do something that could cause you severe damage or harm, there may be a way for you to force the other party to halt their action temporarily until a more permanent decision or solution is reached.

What is an injunction?

An injunction is an order made by the court compelling another party to do, or refrain from doing, a specific action. Typically, an injunction order will be put in place to force a party to stop doing something that is damaging to another party.

Injunctions can be temporary, preliminary or permanent depending on the type of action the injunction order relates to, and at what stage of a dispute or legal proceeding the injunction order is sought.

Some of the most common reasons why a party may wish to seek immediate injunctive relief include:

  • To prevent your supplier suddenly diverting supply elsewhere in breach of a supply agreement;
  • To prevent a party illegally attempting to terminate a contract;
  • To prevent a party from taking action against your assets;
  • To prevent a third party making illegal use of your intellectual property; and
  • To prevent breaches of a restraint of trade clause or confidentiality agreement.

Some examples of situations that may lead to a party seeking an injunction order could be a landlord threatening to evict a tenant that is running a business, a newspaper intending to publish an article that is likely to cause another party reputational harm, or an employer wishing to prevent the dissemination of confidential information by a previous employee or rival business.

Injunctions are an important enforcement tool that can be used to compel another party to immediately modify their behaviour in order to prevent them from causing you irreversible, or even permanent, harm.

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If you have any questions regarding any of our services, or just need a question answered about an urgent court application, then make an enquiry and our Litigation team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

There are many different reasons why a person or entity might wish to seek an immediate injunction order. Often, the need for injunctive relief is imminent where there is a real risk that further action by one party will have significant adverse consequences on another party, especially where any further delay could likely cause irreparable harm. In these circumstances, there will be an immediate requirement for urgent court action.

The Courts will recognise the different ‘degrees’ of urgency in determining whether an injunction order is the most proper order in the circumstances on a case by case basis.

In deciding whether to grant an injunction order, the court requires the applicant to establish the following two requirements:
  1. There is a serious question to be tried; and
  2. The balance of convenience requires an injunction order to be granted.

Serious question to be tried

The applicant must make out a prima facie case (i.e. show that there is sufficient evidence to establish a legally rebuttable presumption).

Balance of Convenience

The court must weigh up the applicant’s interests against the interests of the respondent. If the respondent can prove that the costs and inconvenience caused to the respondent in granting the order outweighs any benefits gained by the applicant, the court will generally be reluctant to grant the injunction.

In order to apply for an injunction, the applicant seeking the order will be usually be required to provide an undertaking to the court (a formal pledge or promise) as to damages. In essence, the applicant must commit to compensating the respondent for any damage caused as a result of the injunction being granted in the event that the injunction is subsequently overturned (i.e. the court later determines that the injunction should not have been granted).

The court will generally not grant an injunction unless the applicant provides this undertaking to eliminate the risk of a respondent being unreasonably harmed by the granting of an unfair injunction.

In order to lodge an application for an injunction, there are various rules and procedures that need to be followed. Different processes apply depending on whether or not a legal proceeding has already been commenced, and the relevant threshold that an applicant must overcome in order to be successful in their applicant is high.

If you are wishing to apply for urgent injunctive relief, it is important that you seek immediate legal advice, not only to ensure that you present your case in the most favourable way to maximise your chances of a successful outcome, but also to ensure that you follow the right procedures by submitting the correct forms in the right court.

An injunction can only be removed or changed at the discretion of the court. If the party against whom the injunction order was made can prove that the injunction was founded on a decision that was wrongful in law, the court will generally overturn the original decision to grant the injunction.

If you wish to have an injunction order overturned, you should immediately seek legal advice.

There are a number of possible defences that may be available to a respondent seeking to resist an application for an injunction order. Depending on the circumstances of each individual case, some general actions that a respondent could take in order to deter the court from granting an injunction include providing sufficient monetary compensation to the applicant for any harm caused, or giving an undertaking to stop a particular action without the need for further court intervention.

In some situations, certain equitable defences may apply, including:

  • Delay/laches (unreasonable delay by the applicant in making the application);
  • Unclean hands argument (the applicant has acted in bad faith, unethically or in some other way brings the application with ‘unclean hands’); or
  • Waiver, release or estoppel (preventing a party from arguing something or asserting a particular legal right).

The defence of delay can be a very powerful defence in relation to injunction orders for two reasons:

  1. Firstly, if there has, in fact, been a delay, the respondent’s case will be strengthened if can be shown that the delay gave the respondent the impression that no application would be made; and

Secondly, in the case of an urgent injunction, the fact that an applicant has failed to act on their right at an earlier stage may lead to an impression that the injunction is less than urgent, or even that it is not necessary to grant the injunction.

If you need assistance

Injunctions are complex legal mechanisms. Whether you are seeking to bring or defend an application for an injunction order, it is vital that you receive the right legal advice to ensure your rights are sufficiently protected at all times.

At Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers, we are experienced in all different types of injunction matters. Our lawyers are here to assist you with any aspect of your injunction dispute, whether you require urgent court action to obtain an injunction order, or you’re seeking advice on how to best defend an application that has been made against you.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation initial discussion about applying for an injunction.

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