Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Injunction Definition:

A court order that prohibits a party from doing something (restrictive injunction) or compels them to do something (mandatory injunction).

Related Terms: Mareva Injunction, Pendente Lite, Interlocutory Injunction, Ex Parte

The opening paragraph of the relevant chapter of Spry's 2001 edition of Equitable Remedies also cuts to the chase:

"An injunction is an order, historically of an equitable nature, restraining the person to whom it is directed from performing a specified act, or, in certain exceptional cases ... requiring him to perform a specified act.

"Injunctions are hence often classified as either prohibitory or mandatory injunctions, according as they either restrain or require the performance of the act in question.

"They may further be classified as either interlocutory or interim injunctions, on the one hand, where the order itself is expressed to have effect only until a further hearing takes place or until a named day  or else contains some similar limitation, or perpetual injunction, on the other hand, where the order is not so limited."

The 2011 edition of the Canadian Encyclopedic Digest provides this summary of the law substantiated by references to relevant case law:

"A plaintiff is not entitled to an injunction as of right. Every case must depend on its circumstances.

"The granting of an injunction is always discretionary, but the court's power must be exercised reasonably and in harmony with well-established equitable principles. Hence the court will not grant an injunction merely because it will do the defendant no harm; nor will it restrain a trivial or temporary injury.

"The court is disinclined to grant an injunction which requires the supervision of details or if it is likely to prove futile or ineffective.

"The courts avoid granting injunctions which would preempt the jurisdiction of a specialized body such as a tribunal or board.

"The court will not grant an injunction which is impossible to enforce."


  • See also Mareva injunction.
  • Spry, I., The Principles of Equitable Remedies, 6th Ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 2001), page 322.

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