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Interlocutory Injunctions

Interlocutory Injunctions

Interlocutory Injunctions Definition

An interlocutory injunction is a court-ordered directive that compels or restrains a party from taking specific actions until a final judgment is reached in a case. It is a temporary measure issued during the interim stage of a trial to preserve the existing state of affairs until a final decision can be made. Interlocutory injunctions are typically sought in situations where immediate and urgent action is necessary to prevent irreparable harm or damage.

These injunctions play a crucial role in maintaining the status quo and ensuring fairness in legal proceedings. They provide a mechanism for the court to intervene and impose temporary restrictions or requirements on the parties involved, safeguarding the interests of the applicant until the case can be fully heard and determined.

When an interlocutory injunction is sought, it is of utmost importance to appoint a solicitor who can act swiftly to ensure the injunction is granted as soon as possible. Delays in obtaining the injunction can have severe consequences and result in irreparable harm to the applicant. This urgency arises because an interlocutory injunction is considered an expedited remedy that addresses pressing matters where immediate action is required to prevent further damage.

Once the court grants an interlocutory injunction, it becomes challenging for the defendant to have it overturned. This means that if a party acts promptly and successfully secures an injunction, they have a significantly higher chance of success at trial. The court recognizes the importance of maintaining stability and preventing potential harm during the legal process, leading to a presumption in favor of upholding interlocutory injunctions unless exceptional circumstances arise.


Interlocutory Injunctions Use

Interlocutory injunctions are an important tool used in Australia to preserve the status quo of a situation while a legal dispute is being addressed. Essentially, they are interim court orders that are designed to prevent further harm or damage to a person or property while the dispute is being considered. 

Interlocutory injunctions are particularly useful for restraining a party from doing something that is likely to cause irreparable damage or harm to another party before the dispute can be settled. For example, a party may apply for an interlocutory injunction to prevent another party from selling certain property or from engaging in certain conduct that could damage their reputation.

Interlocutory Injunctions

Interlocutory Injunction Requirements

When applying for an interlocutory injunction, the applicant must demonstrate several key elements to increase the likelihood of the injunction being granted. These five crucial factors include:

1. Prima Facie Case:

The applicant must establish a prima facie case, meaning that there is a “serious question to be tried” regarding the plaintiff’s entitlement to relief. This requirement is not based on the likelihood of success but rather on the applicant having a fair chance of success. It involves presenting sufficient evidence and legal arguments that support the applicant’s claim. See Australian Broadcasting Corporation v O’Neill (2006) 227 CLR 57

2. Likelihood of Success:

In addition to a prima facie case, the applicant must show a sufficient likelihood of success in the overall case. This means that there should be a reasonable prospect of success at the final trial. The court considers whether the applicant has a strong case that justifies preserving the status quo pending the trial.

3. Likelihood of Irreparable Injury:

The applicant must demonstrate that there is a likelihood of injury or harm for which monetary damages would not be an adequate remedy. In other words, the harm caused by not granting the injunction cannot be adequately compensated through financial compensation alone. The court assesses whether the potential harm to the applicant outweighs any potential harm to the respondent in maintaining the status quo.

4. Balance of Convenience:

The court weighs the balance of convenience, considering the public interest, countervailing public or private interests, and the principles related to freedom of expression in relevant cases such as defamation. This assessment involves determining whether it is more convenient and just to grant the injunction rather than maintain the existing situation until the final determination of the case.

Interlocutory injunctions are typically granted by the court based on the balance of convenience. This means that the court must weigh up the potential harm to one party if the injunction is not granted, versus the potential harm to the other party if it is granted. If the court finds that an interlocutory injunction should be granted, then it will usually specify what actions can and cannot be taken by the parties during the dispute.

5. Undertaking as to Damages:

Lastly, the applicant must provide an effective undertaking as to damages. This means that the applicant must offer a guarantee to compensate the respondent for any losses suffered if it is later determined that the interlocutory injunction should not have been granted. The court considers the feasibility and enforceability of such an undertaking.

By satisfying these five requirements, the applicant strengthens their case for the granting of an interlocutory injunction. It is important for the applicant to provide compelling evidence, legal arguments, and necessary undertakings to convince the court of the urgency, potential harm, and likelihood of success in the case.


Interlocutory Injunctions in Commercial Disputes

Interlocutory injunctions are often used in commercial disputes where one party is seeking to prevent another from acting in a manner that could cause it financial losses. It is also useful in cases where a party is seeking to prevent another from engaging in conduct that could damage their reputation or cause them physical harm.

There are several technical legal requirements which must be met in order to apply for an injunction. These include providing sufficient evidence and legal argument in support of the application. This is where the expertise of a solicitor is essential; they will be able to provide legal advice on the chances of success and prepare the necessary paperwork for submission to court.


Recent High Profile Case Involving Interlocutory Injunctions

In the recent case of Government of the Russian Federation v Commonwealth of Australia [2023] HCA 20 (26 June 2023), the Government of the Russian Federation (GRF) sought an interlocutory injunction to safeguard its rights pending the determination of the application for declarations regarding the invalidity or validity of the Home Affairs Act 2023. However, the GRF was unsuccessful in its application, and the court did not grant the requested injunction.

Interlocutory injunctions play a crucial role in the legal system, particularly in cases where the rights and interests of parties need protection during ongoing proceedings. These injunctions are temporary orders that aim to maintain the status quo until the final determination of the case. They serve as a form of relief that seeks to prevent irreparable harm or prejudice to a party’s rights pending the resolution of the substantive issues in dispute.

In the context of the Government of the Russian Federation’s application, an interlocutory injunction would have acted as a safeguard, preserving the GRF’s rights and interests while the court considered the validity of the Home Affairs Act 2023. It could have prevented any potential harm or damage that might have occurred during the pendency of the case.

However, the court’s decision not to grant the interlocutory injunction indicates that it did not find the GRF’s arguments or evidence sufficiently compelling to warrant the immediate protection sought. The court must have weighed the potential harm to the GRF against any prejudice or inconvenience that granting the injunction might have caused to the Commonwealth of Australia or other parties involved.

The denial of the interlocutory injunction does not necessarily imply a final decision on the merits of the case. The GRF can still pursue its application for declarations regarding the invalidity or otherwise of the Home Affairs Act 2023 through the regular court process. The court’s decision on the interlocutory injunction simply means that the GRF’s rights will not receive immediate protection pending the final determination of the case.


L A Warren Lawyers Experts in Interlocutory Injunctions

At L A Warren Lawyers, we have developed an excellent reputation for defending or starting applications for interlocutory injunctions when they are needed. Our team of experienced lawyers are skilled in evaluating cases and determining when an injunction is necessary as well as how to successfully argue for one.

We understand that interlocutory injunctions are often necessary to protect the interests of our clients. Our team can help you to obtain an injunction that will prevent any harm to your interests and provide you with the protection you need until a final decision is made in your case.

We understand that this type of injunction is typically used in urgent situations and we work swiftly to ensure that our clients receive the protection they need as quickly as possible. We are highly successful in presenting arguments in support of the need for an interlocutory injunction and can assist our clients in obtaining an injunction from the court in a timely manner.

L A Warren Lawyers is also well-versed in the complexities of litigation, and is able to identify potential issues which may arise during the course of an injunction application. We are highly experienced in dealing with any opposition that may arise from the other party and will use our expertise to fight for our clients rights.

At L A Warren Lawyers, we understand the urgency of these matters and are prepared to act swiftly on behalf of our clients. We have a commitment to excellence and take great pride in providing our clients with the best legal representation possible.  

We understand that interlocutory injunctions can be a powerful tool for protecting our clients legal rights and our ethos are to strive to ensure that all of our clients receive the protection they need and we will work diligently to secure an interlocutory injunction when necessary. 

We invite you to contact us today to find out how we can help you with your legal needs


About Leonard Warren
Leonard A. Warren is an expert in litigation and resolving commercial disputes. He has over 25 years of experience helping clients achieve a successful result in disputes involving a diverse array of areas including property, mortgages and securities, building and construction, commercial and residential leases, contracts, negligence, defamation, debt collection, insolvency and bankruptcy, directors' duties, and professional conduct matters. He has acted for clients in the High Court, Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court, Supreme Court of Victoria (including Court of Appeal), County Court of Victoria, Melbourne Magistrates' Court and VCAT and in private arbitration. Leonard also has experience in a diverse array of mediation settings, including judicial and private mediation, DBDRV, and Victorian Small Business Commission. Leonard is the founder and Principal of L A Warren Lawyers.

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