Balance of harms is an analysis that is used by the court when considering whether to issue a preliminary injunction.
"The balance of harms analysis examines the harm of granting or denying the injunction upon both of the parties to the dispute and upon other interested parties, including the public." In conducting such an analysis the courts look at several issues. The first consideration is whether the harm to either party is illusory or is actually a harm. An illusory harm will never outweigh an actual harm. Second, in determining what must be weighed the courts look at the threat to each of the parties' rights that would result from granting or denying the injunction. Third, the court considers the potential economic harm to each of the parties and to interested third parties from granting or denying the injunction.
Other considerations in the balance of harms calculus include: whether the defendant has already voluntarily taken remedial action, the likelihood of repetition of the harmful actions, and if the present harm was caused by past conduct.