Injunctions are simply Orders of the Court which tell a person what they may, and just as importantly, may not do. The most common are perhaps domestic violence injunctions which are dealt with separately.
Civil Injunctions are extreme measures. They are a discretionary remedy which is not granted by a court as of right. The court has to be satisfied that an injunction is appropriate and necessary under the given set of circumstances.
An injunction can be ordered without serving notice of application on the other party. This will however involve the Applicant in giving an undertaking to the Court to pay the Respondent’s costs if the application is ill founded and you lose the case.
Sometimes, rather than make an injunction Order, the Court will accept an Undertaking from the Respondent. As breach would be a contempt of Court, imprisonment would result if the undertaking was broken. Certain injunctions are only available from the High Court.
A power of arrest can and often will be attached to an injunction. If an Injunction is not complied with, it will be necessary to return to Court in Committal Proceedings, and ask for the Respondent to be committed to prison.
The types of injunctions that may be available are:-
These are Orders made under the ‘Protection from Harassment Act 1997’ which makes harassment a criminal as well as civil offence. As such the police may intervene and arrest a person suspected of harassment. Commonly these injunctions are used to prevent harassing behaviour by neighbours, former partners, family members, the media etc.
Harassment can include nuisance phone calls, stalking, threats, excessive noise etc. and any behaviour which causes you "alarm" or "distress". The harassment has to have happened more than once. In the case of stalking you must show the behaviour caused you to think that person was likely to use violence on you. In extreme cases, a Crown Court may sentence up to 5 years in prison.
If the police are unwilling to assist a private application can be made to the County Court. A power of arrest can be attached if the initial Order is broken, and the Court may award damages for anxiety, distress, alarm and any financial loss.
Common Law Injunction
These are sometimes called "Assault & Trespass Injunctions". Application can be made to the County Court to stop somebody coming onto your property without your permission or assaulting you.
Under the Housing Act 1996 a local council or housing association has the power to apply for an injunction against any tenant who causes a nuisance or harassment. If an injunction order is made, and subsequently broken, the offending tenant could be sent to prison. A power of arrest is may be attached to an Order
These are made to prevent a Respondent from removing property and assets from the jurisdiction of the Court in order to prevent the Applicant from making a claim against them.
Such are intended to allow an Applicant to enter the home or workplace of a Respondent and to search for documents or evidence that it is believed will be withheld.
An application can be made to the Court to prevent somebody publishing something adverse about you. A penal notice warning the respondent that if he disobeys the order he could be sent to prison will often be included.
An injunction will only take effect when it has been served on a respondent and they become aware of what the court has ordered. You should arrange personal service and have an affidavit of service prepared once you have obtained your injunction so that there can be no doubt over service.
If an injunction does not contain a power of arrest and is broken what must I do?
You will have to apply back to the court which made the injunction and ask them to make an order committing the respondent to prison. They may then be arrested and brought before the court in committal proceedings.
What is an undertaking?
This will be a promise to the court not to behave in a certain way or carry out to any actions. If the promise is broken it will be a contempt of court and an application can be made for committal to prison.
A person giving an undertaking does not have to admit to any wrongdoing. As undertakings can be just as effective as an injunction order they can be a good way of avoiding lengthy arguments over the facts of a case.