Guidance for Chancery District Judges concerning the grant of Injunctions and other interim relief

  • 14/07/2015

(Given by the Chancery Supervising Judges with the authority of The Chancellor)

1. The objective of the revisions to Practice Direction PD2B was to remove irksome restrictions upon the jurisdiction presently exercised by District Judges (in implementation of recommendations in Chapter 3 of the Chancery Modernisation Review which characterised some jurisdictional restraints as “old fashioned, frequently inconvenient and productive of pointless anomalies”), and to replace formal restraints with guidance as to the exercise of enlarged powers. The objective was not to achieve a wholesale change in the allocation of business as between District Judges and Judges. It is therefore expected that District Judges will approach the use of the new powers with caution.

2. Freezing and search orders, including orders made under CPR 25.1(g) will only be made by a High Court Judge or by an authorised Circuit Judge. A District Judge may vary or discharge such an order with the consent of all parties affected by it.

3. The current arrangements for the grant of interim injunctions in the Chancery Division will continue to apply. District Judges should not usually hear applications for interim injunctions where the American Cyanamid test must be applied. If such an application is made to a District Judge, unless there are good reasons for the District Judge to hear it, the application should be referred forthwith to a Judge.

4. District Judges may now hear interim applications which include an interim injunction if the injunction is secondary to the main relief which is sought. An example might be in a partnership dispute, where District Judges have routinely ordered the delivery up of papers pending trial but now will clearly have (what was in doubt before) a power to grant an injunction directing payment of partnership monies into a specified bank account to be held to the order of the Court.

5. Issues arising from the grant of an injunction may (as now) be referred by a Judge to a District Judge for determination.

6. Applications for interim relief, other than an injunction, may as at present continue to be heard by a District Judge, and nothing in this Guidance restricts that.

7. Where there is doubt about the suitability of an application for an injunction or other interim relief being dealt with by a District Judge, guidance should be obtained by the District Judge from the Supervising Judge or from a specialist Chancery s.9 Judge.

8. District Judges may grant final injunctions in connection with any application or trial where the trial itself is listed or is to be listed before a District Judge or where the final injunction is part of the disposal of the case under Part 24.