An injunction is a court order which instructs an individual to cease acting in a certain way. In the majority of cases injunctions are used when there has been a serious breakdown in a relationship and the situation has resulted in threats, assault or harassment by one of the involved parties.
This type of injunction is referred to as a domestic violence injunction. There are many situations when an injunction can be issued and it can be used to prevent individuals from:
- Harassing or assaulting their ex partner or family members
- Visiting property or coming in a certain distance of the property
- Sharing or publishing content about their ex partner online that the ex partner does not like
- Disposing of their assets or leaving the country
Where children are involved the injunction can be used to prevent children from being taken out of the country. In this instance the court may also issue a non molestation order, occupation order or attach a power of arrest if there have been any breaches.
An injunction can also be taken out against stalkers or noisy neighbours.
Housing injunctions can be made where an individual is causing a nuisance or disturbance to others.
Once an injunction has been issued the recipient must not breach the conditions set out within it. Failure to observe the conditions attached to an injunction is treated as contempt of court. An injunction is usually issued after a trial but in certain situations an interim injunction can be sought until the trial is heard.
A final injunction is referred to as a perpetual injunction and it is entirely at the discretion of the court as to whether they are issued.
A freezing injunction is a certain type of order issued by the court which stops the intended recipient of the injunction from removing or disposing of their assets. In the majority of cases the injunction will be restricted to the total sum of all assets and nothing more.
Sometimes people will seek to dispose of their assets and an injunction prevents this from happening. The courts not only have the power to issue a freezing injunction in the UK but internationally too. These orders are primarily issued by the High Court but in a very few rare cases they can be issued at the County Court. Once the injunction has been issued, the recipient’s assets will be frozen for a certain amount of time which will be outlined by the Court. During this time the defendant can spend their money each week but only amounts which are considered to be reasonable.
If the respondent attempts to remove their assets they could be found in contempt of court. In addition the order will be sent to several third parties who may unintentionally allow the respondent to breach the order. For a freezing injunction to be granted there must be a good arguable case and there must be a risk that the respondent may remove their assets to avoid any judgement at the end of legal proceedings.
This is an injunction which provides specific instructions to someone. These instructions could include requesting that the other involved party to deliver a document or provide information.
There are several situations when a mandatory injunction will be issued:
- The applicant will suffer significant harm if the injunction is not served
- The applicant has good prospects of success when they go to trial
- The respondent will not have to incur any expenditure which would be disproportionate to the applicants harm
When a prohibitory injunction is issued this is an order which prevents an individual from acting in a particular way. There is a considerable amount of case law in this area along with extensive guidance on how these orders should be imposed.
First and foremost, there must be a serious matter to be heard in court. It is then up to the courts to use the balance of convenience to determine the outcome of the case. In order to do this they must establish whether the damages are a suitable remedy and whether the respondent will be sufficiently compensated through the applicants undertaking in terms of damages sought.
The courts will also have to assess the overall merits of the case.
For anyone to make an application for an injunction it is crucial that you are recognised as an associated person. This means that you and the other party in the injunction must be associated with each other or related in terms of:
- A marriage or engagement to be married
- A civil partnership or an agreement to enter into a civil partnership
- You are or were at some point living together
- You have occupied the same household at some stage but not as a border, lodger, tenant or employee
- You are related in some way such as parents, grandparents, siblings, children, nephews or nieces, uncles or aunts or first cousins, whether this relationship exists through marriage, blood, cohabitation or a civil partnership.
- You have had a child together or shared parental responsibility for the same child
- You were in a relationship for a significant amount of time
Going to court
Where an injunction is made under the Family Law Act, the hearing will take place in the Family Court. The case will be heard in closed court which means that only those involved in the case will be allowed to sit in the hearing.
If you believe the recipient of the injunction will cause problems for you at the Family Court while you are waiting, you can make arrangements with your solicitor who will request that the court officers keep them away from you in the Court in a separate waiting area. In addition you can also request that personal details such as your address is not read out in court and kept confidential.
An injunction can be a difficult experience for all parties but with a good solicitor and the right legal advice, the process will be made just a little bit easier.
About the author:
This article was written by a member of the Expert Answers legal advice team and posted by Lloyd Barrett. Expert Answers provides online legal advice on all aspects of UK Law to users in the United Kingdom.
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