Enforcement of Contracts by Injunctions

AuthorJeffrey Berryman
We have already seen how injunctions can be used to en force contrac-
tual terms; both i n the preceding chapter and in discussion of inter-
locutory injunctions in Chapter 2. In this chapter we focus on the use
of injunctions to enforce negative stipulations contained within con-
tracts outside the area of employment law.
A contract is normally considered to be an expression of positive
conduct obligating the parties to perform the specif‌ic promises under-
taken. One express promise could be the promise not to undertake a
particular act ivity — an agreement not to open up in competition with
the promisee, for example. However, an express promise can also infer
a promise to undertake a par ticular ta sk to the exclusion of all other
tasks, such as purchasing exclusively from the other contracting party.
In both situations, courts h ave shown a willing ness to grant injunc-
tive relief. From early on, courts have accepted that it was easier to
restrain them f rom doing something t han to order a person to carry out
a particular act, a nd thus injunctions were routinely granted. However,
courts would not allow injunctions to become a roundabout way to ef-
fect specif‌ic performance. Court s today are still m indful of this restric-
tion, but are more willing to gra nt an injunction, preferring to focu s on
the substance of the dispute and on whether award ing an injunction
will really v iolate some other discretionar y concern.

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