Blog Lecture No. 19: Of Preliminary Injunctions and TROs

Good morning class! Today we discuss a provisional remedy that gives instant results. Expensive though… but very relevant given this.

What is a writ of preliminary injunction?

It is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts.

It may also require the performance of a particular act or acts, in which case it shall be known as a preliminary mandatory injunction. (from Section 1, Rule 58 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure)

So remember this. If the court orders someone not to do something, it’s called a preliminary injunction. If the court orders someone to do something, it’s called a preliminary mandatory injunction. Also, it is called preliminary because the court issues these orders while a case is pending.

Can you give an example of each?

Sure. For example, if the court orders the government not to implement EVAT in the meantime, the court issued a writ of preliminary injunction.

If the court orders MERALCO to refund excess payments while the case is being litigated, the court issued a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.

What is the difference between a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order?

The basic difference is basically found in Section 5, Rule 58:

No preliminary injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined. If it shall appear from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that great or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on notice, the court to which the application for preliminary injunction was made, may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined, except as herein provided. Within the said twenty-day period, the court must order said party or person to show cause, at a specified time and place, why the injunction should not be granted, determine within the same period whether or not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly issue the corresponding order.

However, and subject to the provisions of the preceding sections, if the matter is of extreme urgency and the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury, the executive judge of a multiple-sala court or the presiding judge of a single-sala court may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order effective for only seventy-two (72) hours from issuance but he shall immediately comply with the provisions of the next preceding section as to service of summons and the documents to be served therewith. Thereafter, within the aforesaid seventy-two (72) hours, the judge before whom the case is pending shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order shall be extended until the application for preliminary injunction can be heard. In no case shall the total period of effectivity of the temporary restraining order exceed twenty (20) days, including the original seventy-two hours provided herein.

In the event that the application for preliminary injunction is denied or not resolved within the said period, the temporary restraining order is deemed automatically vacated. The effectivity of a temporary restraining order is not extendible without need of any judicial declaration to that effect and no court shall have authority to extend or renew the same on the same ground for which it was issued.

However, if issued by the Court of Appeals or a member thereof, the temporary restraining order shall be effective for sixty (60) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined. A restraining order issued by the Supreme Court or a member thereof shall be effective until further orders.

Hey! That’s kinda long! Can you break it down to the things I need to know for now?

The basic difference between the two is a preliminary injunction can only be granted after due hearing. A temporary restraining order can be given by a court even before a hearing, if there is extreme urgency of suffering a grave injury.

In proceedings in the lower courts (used to be called “Courts of First Instance (CFIs)” now “Regional Trial Courts (RTCs)”) a glaring difference between PIs and TROs is the length of time. TROs can last only from 3 days (72 hours) and twenty days. PIs last until the case is pending.

In higher courts, this difference in duration becomes blurred. In the Court of Appeals, TROs last for 60 days. In the Supreme Court, however, a TRO lasts until further orders, making it essentially the same as a PI.

In RTCs and the Court of Appeals, the court issuing a TRO must schedule a hearing to determine the need for a PI within the TRO’s lifespan. If the TRO does not ripen into a PI within the 20 day or 60 day period, it is automatically lifted.

So in the EVAT case, how long will the TRO last?

Since it was the Supreme Court was the court that issued the TRO, the duration is until its further orders. Fortunate for people with gas-guzzling cars like me…

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