Anti-enforcement injunctions
Anti-enforcement injunctions

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Anti-enforcement injunctions
  • What is an anti-enforcement injunction?
  • Guiding principles
  • Examples of the court granting an anti-enforcement injunction
  • Examples where the court has not granted an anti-enforcement injunction
  • Anti-enforcement injunctions and EU court judgments
  • Application for an anti-enforcement injunction

Brexit: The UK's departure from the EU on exit day ie Friday 31 January 2020 has implications for practitioners considering enforcement. For guidance, see Cross border considerations—checklist—Enforcement—Brexit specific.

What is an anti-enforcement injunction?

The English courts, under common law, have a jurisdiction to restrain a party from commencing or continuing proceedings before a foreign court by granting an anti-suit injunction. Distinct to this jurisdiction, the English court also has the jurisdiction to grant an anti-enforcement injunction after a judgment has been obtained abroad.

The purpose of an anti-enforcement injunction is to prevent the enforcement of a judgment. However, the exceptional nature of such injunctive relief, and the very infrequent exercise of the court's discretion to grant anti-enforcement injunctions, has resulted in a lack of definitive guidance from the English court on when it may be appropriate for the court to grant such orders.

Line of authorities

The following are a line of authorities which provide that the English courts have the jurisdiction to grant an anti-enforcement injunction:

In 1928, the Court of Appeal in Ellerman Lines v Read held that the court had the jurisdiction to grant an anti-enforcement injunction:

‘If there is no authority for this it is time that we made one, for I cannot conceive that if an English court finds a British subject taking proceedings in breach of