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This article was written by Michelle Makela - Legal Practice Director

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (state and federal industrial tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

Federal Circuit Court Injunctions


An injunction, which is also known as a restraining order, is a court order that makes or prevents a party from doing certain things. An injunction forms part of the civil trial process and is not a cause of action in itself. This means that an originating application, like an application for breach of intellectual property rights, must be made prior to an injunction being sought to protect the claimant’s rights while the court determines the final matter. This article deals with Federal Circuit Court injunctions. 

Injunctions in the Federal Circuit Court

The Federal Circuit Court (FCC) can order an injunction for any current or pending matter that is before the court. Its power to grant injunctions is contained in the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001.

The Federal Circuit Court deals with matters relating to:

Some examples of injunctions the Federal Circuit Court can make include:

  • An order preventing a liquidator from selling a property by a party to a marriage in family law proceedings;
  • Orders preventing a person from interfering with another’s privacy;
  • An injunction to prevent a corporation from misusing market power; and
  • An order to prevent the unauthorised use of an artist’s performance.

Federal Circuit Court’s jurisdiction for injunctions

The Federal Circuit Court deals with matters relating to commonwealth law. When a matter arises under commonwealth legislation, the matter and the injunction should be started in the Federal Circuit Court. The Federal Circuit Court does not deal with criminal law matters, nor matters which come under state or territory jurisdiction.

Injunction applications

A party can obtain an injunction in the FCC whilst the originating matter is before the court or before it has been dealt with at trial. 

An injunction can be sought as part of an application when first initiating proceedings. Such an injunction will be decided at the same time as the final orders are made.

An injunction may also be sought to prevent or compel a party to act in a certain way after the original application has been made but before final orders have been made. Such injunctions are sought as a matter of urgency and may relate to the preparation of a matter for trial, such as in order to prevent a party from destroying certain documents. This type of injunction does not determine the parties’ rights but is used as a way of ensuring the matter is dealt with fairly.

For example, whilst a property settlement matter is awaiting trial, a non-bankrupt party can seek an injunction to prevent a trustee from distributing dividends amongst creditors of the party that is bankrupt.

Discharging or varying an injunction

The FCC also has the power to discharge or vary an injunction’s terms. This is a discretionary power and in some instances, the court can do it without an application being made. This commonly occurs in some family law matters.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal. 

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