Interlocutory Injunctions

The courts in Hong Kong are prepared to grant urgent pre-action and/or pre-trial injunctions to prevent infringement in certain circumstances. These remedies are available in the discretion of the Court and not as a matter of right. In seeking this discretionary remedy it is vital that the plaintiff act quickly. Delay may foreclose any chance of obtaining an injunction.

To obtain a pre-trial injunction a plaintiff will need to satisfy the court that there is a serious question to be tried and that if the defendant is not stopped now the damage to the plaintiff's business will be so great that there could be no adequate financial compensation.

The court would hear both parties and where it is satisfied that the balance favours the plaintiff an injunction will be granted. The court will require the plaintiff to give an undertaking to pay compensation to the defendant if the plaintiff is unsuccessful at trial. The injunction will normally last until trial of the action has been completed. Such an injunction can be obtained in a matter of a few days.

In cases of extreme urgency an interlocutory injunction can be obtained on an ex parte basis, that is without notice to the defendant. Such an application is made even before a writ has been issued, in other words it is a pre-action injunction. An ex parte injunction can be obtained in a matter of hours.

An ex parte injunction is usually only effective for a matter of weeks after which both parties must appear in court for the injunction to be either continued to trial or discharged.

Once an interlocutory injunction has been granted by the Court quite often this results in the defendant not contesting the matter further. In other words an interlocutory injunction can often lead to a permanent and final injunction without further litigation or cost.