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.