Michael Forrester explains the various types of interim injunctions in litigation.

There are three sorts of interim injunctions in litigation. Mandatory, i.e. you must return something you’ve taken from someone, Prohibitory, which prevents you from doing something (commonly used in relation to the press and private stories). The third type is a Freezing injunction, which freezes assets or bank accounts (or both).

Michael Forrester, Partner

“You’ll see the phrase super injunction banded around in the press, and you’ll see the phrase interim injunction banded around in the press.  

What an interim injunction is, is someone has gone to court really quickly, sometimes within hours of lawyers being instructed and said, 'there is about to be this problem in my business or personal life and if this bit of information or this competing brand,  if this gets out to the public arena then I can’t put the genie back into the bottle.' The law says irreparable harm – which does what it says on the tin. It’s going to do something that you can’t rope back from.

There’s three sorts of interim injunctions. There's mandatory, i.e. you must return something you’ve taken from someone. We did that last for an estate agent had a number of people leave that business and somebody had taken their core asset which was a database of landlords with them. We got an order from the court that we could go in with an IT expert and they had to let us in, they had to allow us access to their systems and they had to let us image it. That meant instead of a case that went on for probably about 18 months we were able to finish it in a couple of months totally, because that short sharp shock at the start gave us the run on then.

The second type is a prohibitory injunction which means you can’t do something. That’s commonly used in relation to the press, for example if you’ve got a private story. This is where it’s commonly banded around, is super injunctions – John Terry famously had one, other celebrities have famously had them, and then the anonymity restrictions had been taken off later. A super injunction is just a form of prohibitory injunction, it stops something from happening. The added wrapper with a super injunction is you don’t even know who applied for them. They’re that serious that you don’t even know which parties are involved.

The third type of interim injunction is a freezing injunction, which basically freezes assets or bank accounts (or both). We’ve had some really unique applications as a firm of that in relation to new technologies, particularly online currencies, where people haven’t been able to freeze these assets before and we’ve worked on some really cutting-edge stuff of stopping people being able to transfer these assets online. They’re the three main types.”

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