Attorney-General v News Group Newspapers Ltd: CA 1987

A ‘substantial risk’ in section 2(2) can means a risk which is ‘not insubstantial’. The test of ‘substantial risk’ and ‘serious prejudice’ are separate but overlapping. The degree of risk of impact of a publication on a trial and the extent of that impact may both be affected, in differing degrees according to the circumstances, by the nature and form of the publication and how long it occurred before trial.
Parker LJ explained: ‘The imminence or remoteness of the proceedings will still vitally affect both the existence of a substantial risk of prejudice and the question whether, if there is such a risk, it is a risk that the course of justice will be seriously impeded or prejudiced. Both the risk and the degree of prejudice will, as it seems to me, increase with the proximity of the trial . .’
Lord Donaldson MR said: ‘Proximity in time between the publication and the proceedings would probably have a greater bearing on the risk limb than on the seriousness limb, but could go to both.’


Sir John Donaldson MR, Parker LJ


[1987] QB 1, [1986] 2 All ER 833


Contempt of Court Act 1981 2(2)


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedHM Attorney General v Express Newspapers Admn 25-Nov-2004
The claimant sought an order for the committal of the respondent for contempt in having breached an order to restrict their naming of a footballer arrested on allegations of serious sexual assaults. The claim had not gone forward.
Held: ‘ . . . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.220563