Injunctions in Irish law are versatile and powerful legal tools, crucial for ensuring justice and fairness in various legal disputes.

In Irish law, injunctions are governed by a combination of statute law, case law, and court rules. The courts have broad discretion in granting injunctions and can consider numerous factors. However, the principles of natural justice, fairness and proportionality are always paramount.

Injunctions are essentially court orders compelling parties to act or refrain from specific activities. They can be issued at different stages of a legal proceeding and have additional requirements to normal proceedings.

Understanding these requirements is crucial for anyone looking to use or resist an injunction.

What are the 4 different types of injunctions?

Injunctions are classified into permanent or temporary, and prohibitory or mandatory. Each type serves a unique purpose and has specific requirements.

Permanent injunctions

Permanent injunctions are final orders issued after thoroughly examining the facts at a hearing and deciding the rights involved. The primary purpose is to prevent future harm and uphold legal rights, often confirming the outcomes of legal disputes in a lasting manner.

Temporary injunctions

Temporary injunctions are provisional measures during a case to keep the status quo and to avoid irreparable harm. They are not final orders and can be changed as the case evolves, making them flexible legal instruments.

Prohibitory injunctions

Prohibitory injunctions are designed to stop a party from performing specific acts, often to prevent harm or keep the status quo. They are preventive measures, like stopping the sale of a disputed property while ownership issues are resolved.

Mandatory injunctions

Mandatory injunctions, in contrast, require a party to perform specific actions, usually to enforce a legal right or correct a past wrong. Although less common, a court will only grant this type of injunction where it can monitor compliance with the order, like mandating the removal of a structure that violates planning laws.

What are the requirements for issuing a temporary injunction?

The court assesses various factors to determine whether to grant an injunction.

  • Permanent injunction available: It is unlikely a temporary injunction will be granted if a permanent injunction in the same terms would not be granted if the party was ultimately successful in the case.
  • Fair question to be tried: The court will consider if there is a fair legal issue to be decided in the case and may also consider if the case will probably go to trial or if a temporary injunction might give one party a significant tactical benefit.
  • Balance of convenience and adequacy of damages: The court will consider how best to arrange matters pending the determination of the case. This includes considering the “balance of convenience” or “balance of justice”. In most cases, the most crucial factor in this balance is whether monetary damages would be an adequate remedy for the harm at the end of the trial, or whether irreparable harm would arise if a temporary injunction was not granted. Other factors may also be relevant, for example, the public interest or the conduct of parties.

In Irish legal practice, the court's broad discretion allows for a nuanced and flexible approach to each case, considering the legal principles and the specific circumstances.

What is the procedure to obtain an injunction in Ireland?

Obtaining an injunction in Ireland involves starting legal proceedings, in which a party may file an injunction application. Rules of court govern the legal process of issuing proceedings.

Filing a motion for injunction

The first step involves filing a notice of motion along with an affidavit. The notice must detail the relief sought, and the affidavit must have sworn testimony demonstrating the supporting facts.

Notice and hearing requirements

Most injunction applications will be on notice to the other parties to the proceedings. However, an interim injunction may be issued in exceptional circumstances without prior notice to any other party for a brief period of time. A further hearing involving all parties will then occur to consider whether to extend the injunction.

What are the consequences of breaching an injunction?

Breaching an injunction can lead to serious legal consequences, including being held in contempt of court.

In Irish law, a breach of an injunction is a very serious matter. The court can hold the breaching party in contempt and impose various sanctions, including fines and imprisonment.

Contempt of court

Contempt of court is a legal term which refers to behaviour that disrespects or obstructs the court's functioning. In the context of injunctions, it relates to not complying with a court order. Contempt can be civil or criminal, depending on the nature of the behaviour and the person's intent.

Contempt of court is a serious matter. The court has broad powers to punish contempt, including the ability to imprison the person in contempt. The purpose of these powers is to uphold the court's authority and ensure the enforcement of its orders.

What are the defences against an injunction?

In legal proceedings, parties facing a temporary injunction have a set of strategic defences. The defences are about contesting the injunction's necessity and involve tactical legal arguments and evidentiary challenges.

  • Challenging availability of permanent injunction or fair issue to be tried: Opposing parties may argue that a permanent injunction would not be available at the end of the trial or that there is not a fair issue to be tried.
  • Balance of convenience and adequacy of damages: A common defence strategy involves disputing the evidence presented to support the threat of irreparable harm or the inadequacy of damages, and that the balance of convenience favours the granting of an injunction.
  • Procedural Objections: Employing procedural tactics like challenging the application based on procedural grounds such as an unreasonable delay of proceedings.

For more information and expert advice, contact a member of our Dispute Resolution team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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