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What is a Permanent Injunction?

By Charity Delich
Updated May 16, 2024
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A permanent injunction, also called a perpetual injunction, is a type of order issued by a court after a full trial on the merits of a case has been conducted. Alternatively, a permanent injunction may be handed down if a default judgment is entered in a case or if the opposing party agrees to the injunction. A permanent injunction order is typically issued for the purpose of requiring a person or entity to permanently stop acting in a certain manner. A court can also hand down a permanent injunction for the purpose of compelling a party to perform in a certain way.

Permanent injunctions usually occur in civil cases rather than criminal cases. They are considered a type of equitable remedy, and they provide relief in circumstances where money damages are insufficient. For instance, if a disgruntled employee threatens to disclose a company’s confidential information, the company may seek an injunction prohibiting the employee from disclosing the information. In that circumstance, awarding the company monetary damages would be insufficient, and a court order prohibiting disclosure is necessary to prevent the company from being harmed.

Permanent injunctions are different from temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions. Like a permanent injunction, a temporary restraining order compels a party to act in a certain manner or to refrain from acting in a certain manner. A temporary restraining order, however, can be issued without giving the other side an opportunity to be heard in a case. Courts typically issue temporary restraining orders when imminent action is required in order to prevent a party from experiencing immediate harm.

A preliminary or interlocutory injunction also requires a person or entity to perform – or stop performing – in a certain way. Essentially, a preliminary injunction serves as a stop gap, and it is typically valid only until a court issues a final opinion in a case. Unlike a temporary restraining order, the party against whom the order is being sought usually has an opportunity to be heard before a preliminary injunction is issued. Once a final ruling has been made in a case, a preliminary injunction may be replaced with a permanent injunction.

By and large, a permanent injunction remains in effect as long as the conditions that compelled the injunction exist. If a person violates the terms of any type of injunction, he or she may be held in contempt of court. This could mean paying a fine or even spending time in jail.

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Discussion Comments

By anon931560 — On Feb 09, 2014

I've been involved in a real estate matter for nearly three years. we asked for and were granted a permanent injunction. the defendant, now the appellant in her appeal, has not yet posted bond for the requested stay, after requesting that stay over six months ago. My attorney says that she can be held in contempt of court. Her attorney will be advised soon of this condition, if he has not already been made aware by his client. Hopefully, we now have leverage to have conditions placed with her stay when/if she posts bond.

By anon324598 — On Mar 11, 2013

So if there is a permanent injunction in a slander lawsuit and the person who won died later, would the loser be allowed to talk about them?

By discographer — On Apr 25, 2011

So do people always have to file a separate case for a permanent injunction?

I mean if a case is filed and the judge decides that one of the parties should be or should not be doing something, doesn't it automatically become permanent?

Why do we have to specifically pass a separate decision for that? It sounds like a cumbersome process to me.

By serenesurface — On Apr 23, 2011

We learned about this last week in my law and politics class. Aside from the awarding of monetary damages not being enough, we talked about how the permanent injunction should not disserve the public.

I guess since this usually happens in civil cases, the public and how it will be affected by the injunction is just as important as the party that was harmed.

So for example, if a company sued another company for infringement of copyright, and the court passes a permanent injunction to prevent the company from continuing the infringement, it is not damaging public interest. Actually, this would serve public interest because the company that rightfully owns the product can continue to market it and the public can continue to buy that product.

By burcidi — On Apr 21, 2011

I work for the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC often files cases against companies that basically cheat consumers into buying their products. They might use false claims while doing so and end up charging consumers more than they said they would.

In these cases, we usually request a permanent court injunction. The goal is to end the activities of such companies as soon as possible and to make it permanent. Of course the injunction usually includes refunds to consumers as well.

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