Injunctions

Complying with clandestine court orders

An injunction is a type of equitable remedy in the form of a court order that allows a party to do or forces to refrain from doing something or a particular act. A party that then fails to comply with the injunction will face criminal or civil prosecution and may have to pay damages or accept any sanctions dealt by the courts. In most cases, any breach of an injunction is a considerable serious criminal offence that will merit arrest and possible prison sentences, depending on the type of injunction.

An injunction is meant to restore the status quo ante, which means to make whole again the person whose rights have been violated. Injunctions are based on the concept of fairness and equity, therefore money damages would not be of benefit to someone who wished simply to prevent someone from trespassing repeatedly on to his land. The most common reasons for injunctions can range from stalking to civil contempt, for example domestic violence, harassment, discrimination, bullying, physical or sexual abuse, the wrongful transfer of real property or fraudulent conveyance, the disclosure of sensitive information subject to the Official Secrets Act 1989, trademark infringement, copyright infringement, patent infringement, trade secret disclosure, tortuous interference of contract, or criminal contempt.

The new super-injunction has been introduced in England and Wales as a new form of injunction and a type of gagging order in which the press are barred from reporting even the existence of an injunction that is in place, or any information around the injunction. A gag order is often used against parties involved in a lawsuit or criminal trial. The gag order is generally used to prevent media from publishing unwanted information on a particular case or topic. A Criminal Court will usually issue a gag order on the media if the judge believes that potential jurors in a future trial will be influenced by the media’s reporting on the case or speculation at the early stages of that case. Another time that a gag order would be put in place is when it is used to ensure that police are not impeded in their investigations by media publicity about a case.

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