A restraining order is a court order enjoining a person from taking a particular action in relation to another person. Also referred to as a temporary restraining order (TRO). Restraining orders are often issued in cases of domestic violence.
A restraining order has a similar function to a preliminary injunction, the major difference often being that a preliminary injunction requires notice to the enjoined party, whereas a restraining order does not. For civil cases in federal court, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 65 requires a party seeking a restraining order to show that they would suffer “immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage” without the order and reasons why notice should not be required. Many states allow individuals to request restraining orders if they are victims of certain crimes relating to domestic violence. For example, California Civil Code § 527.6 provides that “[a] person who has suffered harassment [as defined by California law] may seek a temporary restraining order and an order after hearing prohibiting harassment.”
[Last updated in April of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]