AskDefine | Define injunction

Dictionary Definition



1 a formal command or admonition
2 (law) a judicial remedy issued in order to prohibit a party from doing or continuing to do a certain activity; "injunction were formerly obtained by writ but now by a judicial order" [syn: enjoining, enjoinment, cease and desist order]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The act of enjoining; the act of directing, commanding, or prohibiting.
  2. That which is enjoined; an order; a mandate; a decree; a command; a precept; a direction.
  3. A writ or process, granted by a court of equity, and, in some cases, under statutes, by a court of law, whereby a party is required to do or to refrain from doing certain acts, according to the exigency of the writ.

Usage notes

  • The verb associated with this word is enjoin. Injunct, sometimes used as a verb, is not a word.

Extensive Definition

An injunction is an equitable remedy in the form of a court order, whereby a party is required to do, or to refrain from doing, certain acts. The party that fails to adhere to the injunction faces civil or criminal penalties and may have to pay damages or accept sanctions for failing to follow the court's order. In some cases, breaches of injunctions are considered serious criminal offenses that merit arrest and possible prison sentences or death.

Basis of injunctions

At the core of injunctive relief is a recognition that monetary damages cannot solve all problems. An injunction may be permanent or it may be temporary. A preliminary injunction, or an interlocutory injunction, is a provisional remedy granted to restrain activity on a temporary basis until the court can make a final decision after trial. It is usually necessary to prove the high likelihood of success upon the merits of one's case and a likelihood of irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction before such an injunction may be granted; otherwise the party may have to wait for trial to obtain a permanent injunction.

Temporary restraints

In the United States, a temporary restraining order (TRO) may be issued for short term. A temporary restraining order usually lasts while a motion for preliminary injunction is being decided, and the court decides whether to drop the order or to issue a preliminary injunction.
A temporary restraining order may be granted ex parte, that is, without informing in advance the party to whom the temporary restraining order is directed. Usually, a party moves ex parte to prevent an adversary from having notice of one's intentions. The order is granted to prevent the adversary from acting to frustrate the purpose of the action, for example, by wasting or hiding assets (as often occurs in dissolution of marriage) or disclosing a trade secret that had been the subject of a non-disclosure agreement.

Apprehended Violence Order

Sometimes, a court grants an apprehended violence order (AVO) to a person who fears violence or harassment from their harasser. A court can issue an apprehended violence order if it believes, on the balance of probabilities, that a person has reasonable grounds to fear personal violence, harassing conduct, molestation, intimidation, or stalking. If a defendant knowingly contravenes a prohibition or restriction specified in the order, he or she can be subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Rationale behind injunctions

This injunctive power to restore the status quo ante; that is, to make whole again someone whose rights have been violated, is essential to the concept of fairness (equity). For example, money damages would be of scant benefit to a land owner who wished simply to prevent someone from repeatedly trespassing on his land.

Injunctions in U.S. labor law context

After the United States government successfully used an injunction to outlaw the Pullman boycott in 1894 in the case of In re Debs, employers found that they could obtain federal court injunctions to ban strikes and organizing activities of all kinds by unions. These injunctions were often extremely broad; one injunction issued by a federal court in the 1920s effectively barred the United Mine Workers of America from talking to workers who had signed yellow dog contracts with their employers.
Unable to limit what they called "government by injunction" in the courts, labor and its allies persuaded the U.S. Congress in 1932 to pass the Norris-LaGuardia Act, which imposed so many procedural and substantive limits on the federal courts' power to issue injunctions as to effectively prohibit all federal court injunctions in cases arising out of labor disputes. A number of states followed suit and enacted "Little Norris-LaGuardia Acts" that imposed similar limitations on state courts' powers. The courts have since recognized a limited exception to the Norris-LaGuardia Act's strict limitations in those cases in which a party seeks injunctive relief to enforce the grievance arbitration provisions of a collective bargaining agreement.

Common reasons for restraining orders

injunction in German: Verfügung
injunction in Spanish: Acción jurisdiccional
injunction in Hebrew: צו מניעה
injunction in Chinese: 禁制令

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Eighteenth Amendment, Prohibition Party, Volstead Act, admonition, arrest, arrestation, ban, bar, barring, behest, bench warrant, bidding, blockade, boycott, capias, caveat, charge, check, circumscription, command, commission, constraint, contraband, control, cooling, cooling down, cooling off, curb, curtailment, death warrant, debarment, debarring, deceleration, demarcation, denial, dictate, direction, directive, disallowance, embargo, exception, exclusion, exhortation, fieri facias, forbiddance, forbidden fruit, forbidding, habere facias possessionem, hindrance, inadmissibility, index, index expurgatorius, index librorum prohibitorum, inhibition, instruction, interdict, interdiction, interdictum, law, legal restraint, lockout, mandamus, mandate, mandatory injunction, mittimus, monopoly, narrowing, nisi prius, no-no, nonadmission, notice, notification, omission, order, precept, preclusion, prescript, prescription, prevention, process, prohibition, prohibitory injunction, proscription, protection, protectionism, protective tariff, rationing, refusal, rein, rejection, relegation, repression, repudiation, restraint, restraint of trade, restriction, restrictive covenants, retardation, retrenchment, ruling, ruling out, search warrant, self-control, slowing down, statute, sumptuary laws, suppression, taboo, tariff wall, teaching, thought control, warning, warrant, warrant of arrest, warrant of attorney, word, writ, zoning, zoning laws
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