ARTICLE: A History of Injunctions in England Before 1700 * Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1986 Trustees of Indiana University.
Indiana Law Journal

ARTICLE: A History of Injunctions in England Before 1700 *

* I want to express my appreciation to John Lindsey, Law Librarian and Professor of Law at Temple University School of Law, for his valuable comments and suggestions on this article. I also want to thank Lawrence Reilly, Reference Law Librarian at Temple University School of Law, for translating into English many of the cases used. An earlier draft of this article was submitted as the author's LL.M. thesis at Temple.

Fall, 1986

61 Ind. L.J. 539


David W. Raack **



The injunction has been called the quintessential equitable remedy. 1 This article will examine the history of this equitable remedy before 1700. First, several of the injunction's possible forerunners, in ancient Roman law and in the equity administered by the early English common law courts, will be discussed. The article will then trace the development of injunctions in England until the end of the 1600's.

The rules of injunctions, like the rules of equity generally, 2 were a product of the institution of the Court of Chancery, and this account of the evolution of injunctions will necessarily entail an account of the growth of Chancery from its origin as an administrative office to its emergence as a judicial body. The period before 1700 was chosen because the events and conflicts of this period had perhaps the largest influence in shaping modern injunctive rules.

Although some other equitable remedies, such as specific performance, are quite similar to injunctions, this discussion will be limited to injunctions. An injunction may be defined as "[a] judicial process operating in personam, and requiring [the] person to whom it is directed to do or refrain from doing a particular thing." 3 The focus here will be on in personam judicial orders in cases where there has not been an agreement or contract between the parties; cases involving such agreements belong more properly to a history of contract and specific performance.


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