The Yale Law Journal

VOLUME
116
2006-2007
NUMBER
6
April 2007
1170-1399
Essay

Irreparable Benefits

Douglas Lichtman

116 Yale L.J. 1284 (2007)

The conventional approach to preliminary relief focuses on irreparable harm but entirely neglects irreparable benefits. That is hard to understand. Errant irreversible harms are important because they distort incentives and have lasting distributional consequences. But the same is true of errant irreversible gains. When a preliminary injunction wrongly issues, then, there are actually two distinct errors to count: the irreparable harm wrongly imposed on the nonmoving party, and the irreparable benefit wrongly enjoyed by the moving party. Similarly, when a preliminary injunction is wrongly denied, there are again two errors: the irreparable harm wrongly imposed on the moving party, and the irreparable benefit errantly accorded the nonmoving party. The conventional approach to preliminary relief mistakenly accounts for only half the problem.

Read Professor Lichtman's Pocket Part essay on this topic, Irreparable Benefits.

Read Professor Porat's response, When Do Irreparable Benefits Matter? A Response to Douglas Lichtman on Irreparable Benefits.

Read Professor Ben-Shahar's response, Against Irreparable Benefits.

Read Aaron Petty's response,  The Relative Weight of Irreparable Benefits .