A preliminary injunction
, in equity
, is an injunction
entered by a court
prior to a determination of the merits of a legal case
, in order to restrain
a party from going forward with a course of conduct until the case has been decided. If the case is decided against the party that has been enjoined, then the injunction will usually be made permanent
. If the case is decided in favor of the party that has been enjoined, the injunction will usually be dissolved or dismissed
In most courts in the United States, the party seeking the preliminary injunction must demonstrate all four things together:
- That there is a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case,
- That they face a substantial threat of irreparable damage or injury if the injunction is not granted,
- That the balance of harms weighs in favor of the party seeking the preliminary injunction
- That the grant of an injunction would disserve the public interest.
The "balance of harms" refers to the threatened injury to the party seeking the preliminary injunction as compared to the harm that the other party may suffer from the injunction.