Apply for an injunction (an order to do or stop doing something)
In some cases, VCAT can make an order for a party to do or stop doing something that may cause damage to another party. This is called an injunction.
You can apply for an injunction when you first apply to VCAT or at any time before VCAT makes a final decision.
You usually need to go to a hearing to get an injunction. If VCAT agrees with your application, we order the injunction.
There are two main types of injunction:
- an interim injunction – temporary until the case is heard at VCAT
- a permanent injunction.
Sometimes we order someone to do or stop doing something temporarily. This is called an interim injunction. It’s used to stop someone doing something (or to make them do something) urgently, until the case is heard at VCAT.
An interim injunction could be used to, for example:
- prevent someone from selling property where ownership is in dispute
- stop someone disposing of goods where payment is in dispute.
An interim injunction is not:
- a way to speed up your case or get an urgent hearing
- permanent or the final outcome.
You can apply for an interim injunction at any time during the case, up until the final hearing.
Before you apply for an interim injunction
Applying for an interim injunction is serious. You must:
- explain to us why the situation is urgent - for example, items in a storage unit dispute are about to be sold or destroyed
- guarantee to pay the other party compensation for any financial losses caused by the interim injunction, if VCAT orders you to pay.
Before we decide to order an interim injunction, we must be confident that it is the best way to deal with the situation.
You will be asked to explain the important reasons for your application when you apply, or be ready to explain them at the urgent hearing.
You must show that:
- your case is serious
- you will suffer damage that can’t be compensated by a payment
- the injury or inconvenience to you will be greater than the injury or inconvenience the other party would experience.
You must provide a statutory declaration with your application that provides the information above. Make sure the declaration it is signed and witnessed.
Important financial and legal consequences
When you get an interim injunction, you guarantee to pay the other party compensation for any financial losses it causes (if VCAT orders you to pay). For example, compensation for loss of property value when an interim injunction temporarily stopped the property’s sale.
You give this guarantee at the hearing when VCAT decides whether to grant the injunction. It is called ‘an undertaking as to damages’. You usually give the guarantee verbally at the hearing and it is included in VCAT’s written order.
VCAT may order you to pay the compensation if your case is unsuccessful at final hearing. A member will decide on the compensation based on evidence about the damage caused by the interim injunction.
Before you apply for an interim injunction, you may want to get legal advice.
How to apply for an interim injunction
You can apply when you first make an application to VCAT. You may be asked in the application form whether you are seeking an injunction, or you can include it when the form asks what you want VCAT to order.
If you already have a VCAT application in progress and you want something stopped temporarily until the dispute is resolved, then use the Application for Directions Hearing or Orders form.
When you apply you must:
- clearly explain why you need one
- include a statutory declaration with all the facts, including why the situation is urgent. For example, it will cause serious damage
- say what you want VCAT to order
- include contact details for all parties and anyone else who might be affected by the injunction.
Make sure the declaration is witnessed and signed. For help, watch the video
You also need to pay an extra fee when you apply.
What happens next
After you apply for an interim injunction, you may need to come to:
- a hearing where VCAT makes a decision about the injunction
- a mediation or compulsory conference where you try to reach agreement about the issues involved.
In very urgent situations, VCAT can order an immediate injunction without hearing from the respondent. This is called an ‘ex parte’ injunction and it’s only for a short time (a few days). If we do this, we then arrange a hearing so all parties can have their say.
Do I need a statutory declaration for residential tenancy cases?
If you have a residential tenancy case where you want the other party to stop doing something that is a breach of their obligations, or want them to do something to meet their obligations (section 472(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997), you don't need to complete a statutory declaration.
A permanent injunction makes a party do something or stop doing something.
A permanent injunction can be used to make, for example:
- a person do something in a contract (for example, stick to conditions when selling a business)
- someone return items after getting a refund.
You can apply for a permanent injunction in your application form or in your Points of Claim.
VCAT can only make a permanent injunction at the end of the case.
How to apply for a permanent injunction
You can ask for a permanent injunction:
- when you complete the application form for your case type.
- at any time before VCAT makes a final decision in your case, using an application for directions hearing or orders.
Prepare for your hearing
It’s important to prepare for your hearing day. There are documents to organise and decisions to make so you’re ready to present the best case possible.
If there is an issue in your case that needs to be urgently addressed, you can request an urgent hearing at VCAT.
Organisations that may help
VCAT cannot give you legal advice, but there are other organisations that may be able to help you.