Injunctions are orders made by the court against a person that prohibit an action or order the taking of an action. Injunctions may be issued as a final remedy (at the end of a case) or during the claim to retain the status quo until the final judgment is issued (called interim or interlocutory injunctions). For example interim injunctions may freeze the money of a defendant in bank accounts in Cyprus and abroad until the case is finally decided (Freezing or Mareva Injunctions), order a defendant to permit access to his business for a search of important documents, stop the sale of a property or the construction of a project. This guide explains the different types of injunctions and the requirements to obtain an injunction in Cyprus.
Without notice (ex-parte) applications in Cyprus
Interim injunctions can be made with notice to the defendant or without notice to the defendant. Without notice applications are the applications made and decided by the Court before the other party has the ability to object to it. If an injunction is issued, then the Court:
On the day the injunction is returnable the defendant has the right to seek its cancellation or its modification (for example to permit the use of a certain sum of money for living and legal expenses). To apply for a without notice (also referred to as ex-parte) application for an injunction in Cyprus it must be extremely urgent or other special circumstances must exist which justify the issuance of the injunction without notice. Such circumstances for example arise when:
The requirement of urgency is in addition to the other requirements for the issuance of an injunction mentioned below. If the Court is not satisfied as to the urgency of the matter it will order the service of the application (without making an injunction) or reject the application altogether.
Requirements for the issuance of an interim injunction
Where an injunction is sought with an application where notice is given to the defendant the Court will have to be satisfied for the following requirements:
In addition, the issuance of an injunction must be just and equitable in the circumstances of the case. The first requirement, on the serious question to be tried at the hearing refers to the pleadings showing an arguable case. The second requirement, that there is a probability the claimant is entitled to relief refers to the evidential strength of the pleaded case. As the High Court in Odysseos v Pieris (1982) 1 CLR 557 at 567 said: “The concept of “a probability” imports something more than a mere possibility but something much less than the “balance of probabilities”, the standard required for proof of a civil action”. The third requirement usually refers to one of the following three circumstances:
When the Court examines whether it is just and equitable to issue an injunction it purports to maintain the status quo that existed prior to the dispute arising. It will take into account the circumstances of the case and examine amongst other:
Requirements for the issuance of a without-notice application
Where a claimant applies for a without notice injunction, then in addition to the standard injunction requirements that must be proven he must:
These two grounds are the main sources of objection by defendants. If the defendants succeed in them the injunction is cancelled.
Types of injunctions
In Cyprus there is no specific statutory mention of freezing orders or search orders, however they apply in a similar way as in England. The Cypriot Courts following English case law have issued worldwide freezing injunctions (freezing the bank accounts of a defendant worldwide up to a certain amount). In a freezing injunction application, the Court will examine amongst other the following:
Note. This guide contains information for general guidance and does not substitute professional advice which must be sought prior to taking any actions.