Temporary restraining orders (TRO) are short-term pre-trial temporary injunctions. To obtain a TRO, a party must convince the judge that he or she will suffer immediate irreparable injury unless the order is issued. If the judge is convinced that a temporary restraining order is necessary, he or she may issue the order immediately, without informing the other parties and without holding a hearing. These orders are intended to be stop-gap measures, and only last until the court holds a hearing on whether or not to grant a preliminary injunction. Judges' decisions on whether or not to issue a TRO may not be appealed.
Because a TRO may be issued without informing the other party and without holding a hearing, many courts will refuse to issue them, but will instead grant a preliminary injunction after a hearing.
In the federal courts, a TRO is governed by Rule 65(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. State rules regarding TROs and other injunctions vary from state to state. See State Civil Procedure Rules.
Courts will typically use this 2-part test to determine whether to issue a TRO:
- If it clearly appears from specific facts shown by an affidavit or by verified complaint that immediate and irreparable injury, loss, or damage will result to the applicant before the adverse party or that party’s attorney can be heard in opposition, AND
- That applicant's attorney certifies to court in writing and efforts, if any, which have been made to give the notice and the reasons supporting the claim that notice should not be required.
A TRO will only expire after 14 days, unless it is extended for another 14 days, or unless the party against whom the order is directed consents that it may be extended for a longer period.
See Civil Procedure.