Distinguishing Between Injunction & Stay Order

Injunction vs Stay Order

Understanding the difference between the terms injunction and stay order is not complex, as long as you know the meaning of each term. People in the legal field are familiar with the terms Injunction and Stay Order, while others may have only heard of the term Injunction. To distinguish the terms, it is essential to first understand their meanings, and then the differences become clear.

What is an Injunction?

An Injunction is a court order or writ in law that requires a person to perform or abstain from performing a specific act. It is an equitable remedy granted by the court, compelling the performance or non-performance of an act. This remedy is granted at the court’s discretion, so it varies from case to case. The plaintiff, or the party filing the action, typically requests an Injunction. In granting an Injunction, the court examines the case’s facts to determine if the plaintiff’s rights are being violated and if there is an irreparable injury. This means that the injury’s extent is such that even the remedy of damages is insufficient to repair the injury. Courts also grant Injunctions to ensure justice or prevent injustice. Remember that an Injunction is not a remedy that the court grants liberally.

Injunctions are classified into several categories, including Preliminary Injunctions, Preventive Injunctions, Mandatory Injunctions, and Permanent Injunctions. Preliminary Injunctions are granted as temporary relief to maintain or preserve something’s existing condition. Preventive Injunctions order people to refrain from performing a negative act that would adversely affect the plaintiff’s rights. Mandatory Injunctions require the compulsory performance of a specific act, also called specific performance. An example of a Mandatory Injunction is a court order to remove buildings or structures wrongfully erected on someone else’s land. Permanent Injunctions are granted at the end of a hearing and constitute final relief. General examples of Injunctions include orders to prevent nuisance, pollution of water supplies, cutting trees, damage or destruction to property or personal injury, orders requiring the return of property or removal of blocks from access ways, and others. Failure to comply with an Injunction results in a charge of contempt of court.

What is a Stay Order?

A Stay Order also represents a court-issued order, but its purpose is different from that of an Injunction. It is defined as a court order halting or suspending a judicial proceeding either fully or temporarily. Some jurisdictions simply refer to it as a ‘Stay.’ Such orders are issued to suspend or stop a legal action until a certain condition is fulfilled or a specific event occurs. The court can later lift the suspension and re-commence the legal proceeding. Stay Orders differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In general, however, there are two types of Stay Orders: a Stay of Execution and a Stay of Proceedings.

A Stay of Execution is a Stay Order issued by the court, suspending or delaying the enforcement of a judgment against a person. Thus, for example, when the court awards damages to a plaintiff, the plaintiff cannot collect the awarded sum from the defendant due to the Stay Order. This type of Stay Order can also refer to a postponement or halt in enforcing a death penalty sentence.

A Stay of Proceedings, on the other hand, refers to the suspension of a legal trial or a particular proceeding within a legal action. Such Stay Orders are issued to suspend the process of a case until a party to the case fulfills certain conditions or complies with a court order. For example, where a party is under obligation to deposit a certain sum with the court before the commencement of a legal action, then the court will issue a Stay Order until the party pays the sum. Moreover, if the plaintiff has filed actions in two different courts against the defendant, such as a district court and criminal court, then one of the courts will issue a Stay Order suspending the action before it until the case in the other court is concluded.

What is the difference between Injunction and Stay Order?

It is evident that an Injunction and a Stay Order represent two entirely different legal terms. Although both constitute orders issued by the court, they differ in their purpose.

  • An Injunction is a court order or writ prohibiting or requiring the performance of a specific act by a party.
  • An Injunction is typically requested by the plaintiff and represents an equitable remedy in law.
  • Injunctions are granted at the court’s discretion and only in instances where one party’s actions will cause irreparable injury to the plaintiff.
  • There are different types of Injunctions, including Preliminary, Preventive, Mandatory, or Permanent Injunctions.
  • On the other hand, a Stay Order constitutes an order issued by the court suspending, postponing, or halting a judicial proceeding either fully or temporarily.
  • Although Stay Orders may differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, essentially there are two main types of Stay Orders: Stay of Execution and Stay of Proceedings.
  • A Stay of Execution refers to the suspension or delay in enforcing a specific court judgment, such as a death penalty or paying damages to a plaintiff. Similarly, a Stay of Proceedings refers to the suspension or postponement of a legal proceeding or a particular process within a legal action.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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