injunction | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

In legal terms, an injunction is a court order that stops one or more named parties from doing something.

An injunction is a court order that stops one or more named parties from doing something. To fully grasp this concept, let’s take a closer look at injunctions and how they function within our legal system.

Understanding the Purpose of Injunctions

At its core, an injunction serves as a form of protection. The court issues this order to protect someone’s rights or property. It’s used when a party believes that another party’s actions could cause them harm or violate their rights. By ordering the other party not to take a specific action, the court attempts to prevent this harm from occurring.

Let’s say a business is polluting a river, and a local community fears this pollution will harm their water supply. The community might ask the court for an injunction to stop the business from polluting. The injunction, if granted, would legally compel the business to halt its damaging actions.

Types of Injunctions: Preliminary and Permanent

These come in two main types: preliminary and permanent. A preliminary injunction is a temporary measure. The court issues it before the final judgment in a case. Its purpose is to maintain the status quo, preventing any changes that could cause harm or complicate the case before the court can fully consider the matter.

A preliminary injunction is often used for fact-finding. This means it gives the court time to gather all the necessary information about the case. The judge then uses this information to decide whether a permanent injunction is warranted.

On the other hand, a permanent injunction is a final order. The court issues it at the end of a case once all the evidence has been considered. It imposes a long-term requirement for the named party or parties to refrain from a certain action.

Seeking an Injunction

To get one, a person or group needs to file a request with the court. This request should explain why they need it. It should also provide evidence supporting their claim.

The judge then considers this request. If the judge believes that the person or group has a good reason, they may issue a preliminary injunction. This temporary order gives the court time to investigate the matter more fully.

After the fact-finding is complete, the court decides whether to issue a permanent one. If the judge decides that the evidence supports the need for a long-term solution, they will issue a permanent injunction.


Understanding injunctions is a key part of understanding our legal system. These legal tools help protect individuals and communities from potential harm. They provide a means for people to stand up for their rights and for the environment.

They can also serve as a deterrent, discouraging others from engaging in similar harmful actions. In this way, they contribute to maintaining order and fairness in our society.

In summary, an injunction is a powerful legal tool that helps ensure justice. Whether preliminary or permanent, these court orders play a crucial role in safeguarding rights and preventing harm.

[ Glossary ]

Last Modified: 05/25/2023

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