bits of law

Main Section

Tort | Negligence

Remedies: Injunctions

Study Note | Degree

Download Adobe PDF Icon


Injunctions can provide a remedy in some tort claims and are most commonly used in the torts of nuisance and trespass. An injunction is an order of the court prohibiting a person from doing something or requiring a person to do something. It is an equitable remedy. Therefore, in order to be granted an injunction, a claimant must satisfy the maxims of equity: he who seeks equity must come to court with clean hands, equity does nothing in vain and delay defeats equity.

There is statutory provision for granting injunctions in civil courts.

S45: .. an injunction may be granted... in all cases in which it shall appear to the Court to be just or convenient...


Injunctions may be classified in relation to the stage at which they are granted

  • Final

    Final injunctions can be granted at the end of a full trial and hearing in the matter.

  • Interim

    Interim injunctions may be granted before the end of a full trial and hearing and even before proceedings have properly commenced. In order for an interim injunction to be granted the court must find that the balance of convenience is satisfied (it would harm the claimant more to go on without the injunction than it would harm the defendant to grant it).

    Without notice

    In extreme emergencies the claimant may apply for a short temporary injunction (lasting a few days) without informing the other side. A full hearing will be held before the injunction ends, so the court may hear the arguments.

    With notice

    A claimant must give the other side is given notice of an application being made to obtain an injunction and both parties will be heard at the hearing.

Injunctions can be further divided into different types.

  • Prohibitory

    The court order forbids the defendant from continuing to act in a particular way.

  • Mandatory

    The court order requires the defendant to take action to rectify the consequences of their act.

  • Quia timet

    The court order aims to prevent an apprehended legal wrong. These are very unusual and require the claimant to prove that: the damage is near certain to occur, the damage is imminent and that the defendant will not be restrained without the court order.


There is statutory provision to award damages in conjunction with or as a substitute for damages (Chancery Amendment Act 1858 (Lord Cairn's Act) ). However, if a claimant is awarded damages in substitution for an injunction he may not later apply for an injunction, as the damages will cover all past, present and future losses. In some cases damages may be a more adequate remedy than an injunction.

Shelfer v City of London Electric Lighting Co [1895] 1 Ch 287


The plaintiff's pub was suffering structural damage due to the defendant's nuisance.


When should damages be awarded in lieu of an injunction?


Smith LJ:
(1) If the injury to the plaintiff's legal rights is small,
(2) And is one which is capable of being estimated in money,
(3) And is one which can be adequately compensated by a small money payment,
(4) And the case is one in which it would be oppressive to the defendant to grant an injunction: - then damages in substitution for an injunction may be given...

This site is best viewed with style sheets (CSS) enabled and an up-to-date browser.