When it comes to a private prosecution, there may be harm which is ongoing and/or there may be a risk that a potential defendant may seek to transfer their assets before proceedings are brought. Therefore, a private prosecutor should consider at the outset of the matter whether urgent injunctive relief is necessary in order to safeguard personal or business interests.
Our London lawyers are based minutes from the High Court and can be deployed with speed as the client’s needs and case demands. We ensure that we provide the best possible outcome for our clients by conducting in depth investigation and research into the realistic prospects of a case before selecting the appropriate course of action in order to reduce time and expense.
What is an Injunction?
An injunction is a Court order that will prohibit a party from taking a particular action which is called a prohibitory action; or may require them to take a particular action which is called a mandatory injunction. Usually the first step is to obtain an interim injunction which will usually be granted pending a further hearing or until a further hearing or until a full trial of the dispute.
If a party breaches an injunction the party can be held in contempt of Court which in some circumstances may lead to imprisonment.
What are the types of injunctions?
The CPR have codified the court’s power to grant types of interim order in CPR 25.1(1). Such interim injunctive relief includes:
- Freezing injunctions – restricting someone from dealing with their assets;
- Orders requiring a party to provide information about the location of property or assets, which may be sought to to support a freezing injunction or as a standalone order;
- Search orders – to permit the search of a respondent;s property to preserve evidence and property; and/or
- Orders requiring delivery up of property.
Other types of injunctions include:
- Injunction to protect interest related to real property, i.e. rights to light.
- Injunction to restrain trespass or nuisance which also includes public nuisance.
- Injunction to restrain unlawful competition by directors and employees.
- Anti-suit injunctions, restraining foreign legal proceedings.
- Proprietary injunctions, protecting property and assets.
- Privacy and confidentiality injunctions, protecting an applicant’s personal privacy or confidentiality in business or personal information.
- Injunction protecting patentee or IP right-holder rights.
- Family law injunctions, i.e. non-molestation orders – the respondent ia not to approach the victim, not to act in a threatening manner or use violence or abuse towards a victim (in some cases the child(ren)) or attend any property occupied by the victim
- Insolvency law injunctions – for example to prevent the presentation of a winding-up petition.
When can a party seek an injunction?
A party can apply for an injunction both before or after court proceedings have begun. The court can grant an injunction before the start of the court proceedings if the matter is urgent or if it is necessary in the interests of justice. An example of this could be if there was a risk that the funds would be dissipated or evidence destroyed.
If an injunction is made prior to the case going to trial this is called an interlocutory or interim injunction. These injunctions may remain in force for a set period of time or may remain in force until the matter comes to trial or a further order is made by the Court. A “final” injunction will be made when the case goes to trial if the Court feels it is necessary.
What is the procedure for applying for an injunction?
There are three principles that must be established before a Court will consider granting an injunction:
- There is a substantive cause of action, and the other party is either threatening to invade (or had invaded) your equitable rights or is threatening to behave (or has behaved) in an unconscionable manner
- The court feels that it would be just and convenient to grant the injunction, and no equitable bars exist e.g. unreasonable delay or behaviour on the part of the applicant;
- Damages would not make an adequate remedy in redress of the dispute
The procedure for applying for an injunction will differ depending on whether the application is made with or without notice to the otherside.
An application is made to the court that is dealing with the main claim, or will be dealin with the mail claim. An application notice may be required which must state what order the applicant is seeking and the reasons why the applicant is seeking the order as well as the time, date and place of any hearing that is to take place.
Generally if an interim application is made this must also be supported with evidence. Evidence usually includes a witness statement or affidavit including all facts that the Court should be aware of and relevant documents.
What is a without notice application?
A without notice application is an application that is made without the other party receiving any notice of the application. This kind of injunction will only be granted by the court if there are good reasons as to why the respondent shouldn’t be given notice of the application.
A without notice application may be made if the matter is considered so urgent that there isn’t time to tell the respondent; or when the notice would lead to a risk of evidence being destroyed or assets being dissipated before the injunction is heard.
How much does an injunction cost?
The cost for an injunction is dependent on the circumstances and facts in the particular case, however injunctions are generally considered fairly costly.
The level of costs will be affected by:
- The urgency of the application;
- The number of witnesses involved in the matter; and
- Whether the matter is with or without notice.
What to do if you are served with an injunction?
If you are served with an injunction you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.
It is important that no steps are taken that are seen to breach the injunction in any way as this is generally punishable as a contempt of court which in some circumstances will lead to imprisonment.
Any evidence that you consider to be relevant to your case should be preserved as long as these steps do not breach the injunction.
How are Injunctions Enforced?
One factor that encourages applicants to seek interim injunctions is the power of the court to enforce injunctions in the event that the injunction is breached. In the event of disobedience or breach of the order the respondent may face:
- Committal of an individual to prison;
- Sequestration of assets; or
All orders for an injunction should be endorsed with a penal notice putting the respondents and third parties on notice of sanctions in the event that injunction is breached. If the respondent is a corporate entity, it’s directors may be subject for enforcement despite not being parties to the litigation.
If a third party has notice of the terms of the injunction they may also be held to be in contempt of court if they breaches terms. There is no requirement for a penal notice to name every individual that committal proceedings could be brought against.
Specialist Injunction Solicitors in London
Our London Private Prosecution and Injunction Lawyers are proud of being able to mobilise with speed and act as tenaciously as the client’s needs and case demands. This is one of the reasons for the firms location adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice in Central London. We have for example obtained an out of hours emergency worldwide freezing injunction for one of our clients in circumstances which required overnight preparation of affidavits and attendance upon a Judge at his private residence followed by immediate enforcement action and further attendance the next morning at the High Court.
We ensure that we provide the best possible outcome for our clients by conducting in depth investigation and research into the realistic prospects of a case before selecting the appropriate course of action in order to reduce time and expense.