Balogh v St Albans Crown Court: CA 1975

The defendant, a solicitors’ clerk attending a trial, grew bored, and set out to release laughing gas into the court through a vent. He had been seen earlier and was caught before he achieved his end. He appealed his committal; for contempt, saying that his acts had not been in the face of the court.
Held: It was a contempt and the court had power to commit. The court’s power to commit a contemnor without charge or trial exists to protect the administration of justice, and is not limited to punishing for contempt ‘in the face of the court’ or what the judge himself sees and knows. Because it is arbitrary and contrary to natural justice it is to be exercised with scrupulous care and only when it is imperative to act immediately. Lord Denning MR: ‘a judge should act of his own motion only when it is urgent and imperative to act immediately.’ and ‘Returning to the present case, it seems to me that up to a point the judge was absolutely right to act of his own motion. The intention of Mr. Balogh was to disrupt the proceedings in a trial then taking place. His conduct was reported to the senior judge then in the court building. It was very proper for him to take immediate action, and to have Mr. Balogh brought before him. But once he was there, it was not a case for summary punishment. There was not sufficient urgency to warrant it. Nor was it imperative. He was already in custody on a charge of stealing. The judge would have done well to have remanded him in custody and invited counsel to represent him.’ Stephenson LJ: ‘… if the appellant was in contempt, could or should his contempt have been immediately punished by Melford Stevenson J. as a judge of the Crown Court in the way in which it was punished, namely, by committal to prison for six months? Again my answer is ‘No,’ and my reasons can be even more shortly stated – in two sentences. This procedure is one to which judges should resort in exceptional cases where a contempt is clearly proved and cannot wait to be punished. Here the facts alleged to constitute the contempt were admitted, but there was no need for immediate punishment.’ and ‘[The summary procedure] must never be invoked unless the ends of justice really require such drastic means; it appears to be rough justice; it is contrary to natural justice; and it can only be justified if nothing else will do … .’ Lawton LJ: ‘In my judgment this summary and draconian jurisdiction should only be used for the purpose of ensuring that a trial in progress or about to start can be brought to a proper and dignified end without disturbance and with a fair chance of a just verdict or judgment.’

Judges:

Lord Denning MR, Stephenson LJ, Lawton LJ

Citations:

[1975] 1 QB 73

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Griffin 1989
The court considered the extent of the jurisdiction to commit for contempt. Mustill LJ said: ‘We should add that certain dicta (for example, in Balogh) may be read as suggesting that the court has no jurisdiction to adopt the summary process unless . .
CitedSantiago v Regina CACD 8-Mar-2005
The defendant had been convicted but refused to leave his cell to attend court to be sentenced. The judge had adjourned a hearing on contempt for seven days.
Held: The judge was under no duty to hear any allegation of contempt on the day. . .
CitedRegina v M (Restraint order: Jurisdiction) CACD 14-Aug-2008
The defendant appealed against a decision that he should face a prosecution for contempt of court for breach of a restraint order.
Held: The court did have the jurisdiction to deal with such a complaint. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 06 February 2022; Ref: scu.224058

Cavendish Square Holdings Bv and Another v El Makdessi: ComC 18 Dec 2012

Consequential matters – application for committal for contempt.

Judges:

Burton J

Citations:

[2012] EWHC 4305 (Comm)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

See AlsoCavendish Square Holdings Bv and Another v El Makdessi ComC 14-Dec-2012
The parties disputed whether clauses in a share sale agreement between them amounted to a penalty and as such were rendered unenforeable.
Held: Burton J felt able to escape those constraints, and concluded that the two provisions were valid . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromMakdessi v Cavendish Square Holdings Bv and Another (Commital) CA 26-Nov-2013
Appeal against permission to apply to commit the applicant for alleged contempt. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 06 February 2022; Ref: scu.578498

M v M (Breaches of orders: Committal): CA 28 Jul 2005

The mother sought to appeal refusal of a judge to commit the father for contempt in not complying many times with court orders related to residence and contact.
Held: Leave was required for such an appeal. The rules distinguished between an appeal against a committal where leave was not required, and against any other order made in the discretion of the judge in contempt proceedings where leave was required.

Judges:

Ward LJ, Clarke LJ, Neuberger LJ

Citations:

Times 24-Aug-2005

Statutes:

Civil Procedure Rules 52.3(1)

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedLondon Borough of Barnet v Hurst CA 17-Jul-2002
The applicant had been sentenced to nine months imprisonment for having broken his undertaking to the Court. He appealed against that sentence. The other party also sought to appeal other parts of the order.
Held: An appeal limited to the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Children, Contempt of Court, Litigation Practice

Updated: 03 February 2022; Ref: scu.229999

Official Solicitor v News Group Newspapers: FD 1994

There had been a conviction of a nurse for multiple murders. The defendant was approached by a third party and published evidence taken from children’s proceedings.
Held: The defendant was guilty of contempt.

Judges:

Connell J

Citations:

[1994] 2 FLR 174

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedKent County Council v The Mother, The Father, B (By Her Children’s Guardian); Re B (A Child) (Disclosure) FD 19-Mar-2004
The council had taken the applicant’s children into care alleging that the mother had harmed them. In the light of the subsequent cases casting doubt on such findings, the mother sought the return of her children. She applied now that the hearings . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Family, Contempt of Court

Updated: 03 February 2022; Ref: scu.194850

X v Dempster: FD 9 Nov 1998

The columnist Nigel Dempster had written that the mother in forthcoming proceedings relating to a child was a bad mother.
Held: The article was a contempt of court. Such an allegation required proof to the criminal standard. At common law the publisher had no liability in contempt without knowledge. Contempt applied as regards wards of court where the publication related to the children rather than the proceedings: ‘[E]vents in the lives of the children in the present case which are already in the public domain or which do not relate to the proceedings can be the subject of publication.’
The court set out rules for what could be published despite the existence of an order of wardship. There is no common law restraint on identification of parties to Children Act proceedings.

Judges:

Wilson J

Citations:

[1999] 1 FLR 894

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Citing:

CitedIn re F (otherwise A ) (A Minor) (Publication of Information) CA 1977
An allegation of contempt was made in proceedings related to the publication by a newspaper of extracts from a report by a social worker and a report by the Official Solicitor, both prepared after the commencement and for the purpose of the wardship . .
CitedRe W (Wards) (Publication of Information) FD 1989
An injunction was given to prohibit wards of court being named during the Cleveland child abuse inquiry. A summary of what has been said in court and written before hand in statements and reports are as much prohibited from publication as are direct . .
CitedPickering v Liverpool Daily Post and Echo Newspapers plc HL 1991
Damages were awarded for a breach of statutory duty where the claimant had suffered loss or damage by reason of the breach. The publication at issue went beyond reporting and ‘it reached deeply into the substance of the matter which the court had . .

Cited by:

CitedKent County Council v The Mother, The Father, B (By Her Children’s Guardian); Re B (A Child) (Disclosure) FD 19-Mar-2004
The council had taken the applicant’s children into care alleging that the mother had harmed them. In the light of the subsequent cases casting doubt on such findings, the mother sought the return of her children. She applied now that the hearings . .
CitedPelling v Bruce-Williams, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs intervening CA 5-Jul-2004
The applicant sought an order that his application for a joint residence order should be held in public.
Held: Though there was some attractiveness in the applicant’s arguments, the issue had been fully canvassed by the ECHR. The time had come . .
CitedBritish Broadcasting Company v Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council and X and Y FD 24-Nov-2005
Application was made by the claimant for orders discharging an order made in 1991 to protect the identity of children and social workers embroiled in allegations of satanic sex abuse. The defendant opposed disclosure of the names of two social . .
CitedKelly (A Minor) v British Broadcasting Corporation FD 25-Jul-2000
K, aged 16, had left home to join what was said to be a religious sect. His whereabouts were unknown. He had been made a ward of court and the Official Solicitor was appointed to represent his interests. He had sent messages to say that he was well . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Family, Contempt of Court

Updated: 03 February 2022; Ref: scu.194851

P v Griffith: CoP 2 Oct 2020

Application by P acting through her litigation friend the Official Solicitor for an order committing Ms Dahlia Griffith to prison for contempt arising out of her alleged interference with the due administration of justice.

Judges:

Mr Justice MacDonald

Citations:

[2020] EWCOP 46

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Contempt of Court

Updated: 31 January 2022; Ref: scu.655045

Solicitors Regulation Authority Ltd v Khan and Others: ChD 12 Jan 2022

Judgment of the court following the hearing of two applications for an order for the committal of the First Defendant on the basis that she failed to comply with two orders

Judges:

Mr Justice Leech

Citations:

[2022] EWHC 45 (Ch)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Contempt of Court, Legal Professions

Updated: 31 January 2022; Ref: scu.671238

Egeneonu v Egeneonu: FD 18 Jan 2017

H appeared to be in contempt of court having failed to return the children, wards of court, to the uk. W now sought an order for his extradition on the basis that the contempt was criminal.

Judges:

Munby P FD

Citations:

[2017] EWHC 43 (Fam)

Links:

Bailii

Jurisdiction:

England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRe A Ward of Court FD 4-May-2017
Ward has no extra privilege from Police Interview
The court considered the need to apply to court in respect of the care of a ward of the court when the Security services needed to investigate possible terrorist involvement of her and of her contacts. Application was made for a declaration as to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 29 January 2022; Ref: scu.573753

Deutsche Bank Ag v Sebastian Holdings Inc: ComC 16 Dec 2016

Teare J
[2016] EWHC 3222 (Comm)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoDeutsche Bank Ag v Sebastian Holdings Inc ComC 14-Aug-2009
. .
See AlsoDeutsche Bank Ag v Sebastian Holdings Inc ComC 1-Dec-2009
. .
See AlsoDeutsche Bank Ag v Sebastian Holdings Inc ComC 28-Apr-2016
. .

Cited by:
CitedDeutsche Bank Ag v Sebastian Holdings Inc ComC 13-Dec-2017
. .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 27 January 2022; Ref: scu.572627

Harris v Harris; Harris v Attorney General: FD 21 May 2001

The applicant had been committed for ten months for contempt, being in breach of family court injunctions. He applied to be released after two months on the basis that the unserved balance of the sentence be suspended. The court held that it had the power to do this, even in the absence of any direct authority. It should use its powers in such a way as to maximise compliance with court orders, and that could best be achieved in this way in this circumstance. It is important that the in a free society parents who feel aggrieved at their experiences of the family justice system should be able to express their views publicly about what they conceive to be failings on the part of individual judges or failings in the judicial system. ‘The freedom to publish things which judges might think should not be published is all the more important where the subject of what is being said is the judges themselves. Any judicial power to punish such publications requires the most cogent justification. Even more cogent must be the justification for giving the judges a power of prior restraint.’ and ‘a judge, although it may be that on occasions he can legitimately exercise the functions of an aedile, is no censor’.

Munby J
Gazette 19-Jul-2001, Times 06-Aug-2001, [2001] 3 WLR 765, [2001] 2 FLR 895, [2002] Fam 253
Rules of the Supreme Court Order 52 rule 7(1)
England and Wales
Citing:
See alsoHarris v Harris CA 1-Jul-2001
The first instance court had acceded to the husband’s application for downward variation of the wife’s periodical payments to andpound;9,000 per annum and to the wife’s application substituting a lump sum of andpound;120,000 for the future . .

Cited by:
OverruledHarris v Harris CA 8-Nov-2001
On an application by a contemnor to be purged of his contempt, the judge could only answer ‘Yes’, ‘No’, or ‘Not Yet.’ It was not right to add further complexity to release the contemnor, but with some further part of his sentence suspended. The . .
See alsoHarris v Harris CA 1-Jul-2001
The first instance court had acceded to the husband’s application for downward variation of the wife’s periodical payments to andpound;9,000 per annum and to the wife’s application substituting a lump sum of andpound;120,000 for the future . .
CitedRegina (Smeaton) v Secretary of State for Health and Others Admn 18-Apr-2002
The claimant challenged the Order as regards the prescription of the morning-after pill, asserting that the pill would cause miscarriages, and that therefore the use would be an offence under the 1861 Act.
Held: ‘SPUC’s case is that any . .
CitedSymes v Phillips and others CA 19-May-2005
The applicant was in contempt of court. He successfully appealed a sentence of two years imprisonment, with the sentence being reduced to one year. Legally aided, he sought his costs from the claimant. The claimant replied that their part was only . .
CitedNorfolk County Council v Webster and others FD 1-Nov-2006
The claimants wished to claim that they were victims of a miscarriage of justice in the way the Council had dealt with care proceedings. They sought that the proceedings should be reported without the children being identified.
Held: A judge . .
CitedIn re S-C (Children) v H-C CA 28-Jan-2010
The appellant appealed against an order finding her in contempt of court for breach of a court order. The finding had been made in the absence of the parties. She had reported to the police a distorted version of a medical report in the children . .
CitedBalli, Re Contempt of Court Act 1981 (No. 2) ChD 15-Jul-2011
The defendant litigant had been found guilty of contempt in the face of court and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. The contemnor now sought to purge his contempt.
Held: The sentence had been imposed as punishment and not to seek to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Family

Updated: 27 January 2022; Ref: scu.135264

Central Bedfordshire Council v Markwick and Another: FD 12 Oct 2016

Application for the committal of the respondents for contempt of court, having made public matters relating to ourt proceedings involving their grandchildren.
Held: There was insufficient proof, against a straight denial, that the respondents had themselves done the acts complained of, and the complaint failed.

Holman J
[2016] EWHC 2540 (Fam)
Bailii
England and Wales

Children, Contempt of Court

Updated: 24 January 2022; Ref: scu.570273

Dar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company and Another v Al-Sayed Bader Hashim Al Refai and Others: ComC 11 Apr 2014

Applications as to management of committal application. Andrew Smith J had ruled in favour of the applicant/defendant that without notice orders made against them should be discharged because the claimants had misled the court and failed to comply with undertakings given to the court in the court’s orders. Once the defendants had obtained this ruling, they applied for an order that the managing director of the first claimant be committed to prison.
Held: Having rejected the managing director’s account of how documents came to be deleted from certain hard drives which were to be preserved and delivered to the claimant’s solicitors as to which no full and honest explanation had been given. He accepted that the views he had formed had been formed on issues (quite possibly on all the issues) likely to be crucial on the committal application and that the evidence on the committal application was likely to be essentially the same as the evidence he had heard on the discharge application. In the light of these considerations he considered the claimants were entitled to have another judge to hear the contempt application.

Andrew Smith J
[2014] EWHC 1055 (Comm)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
See AlsoDar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company v Al Refai and Others ComC 12-Dec-2012
The defendants applied to set aside an earlier order made without notice, saying that the claimants had not make full and frank disclosure and misled the court in their evidence and submissions and had not complied with an associated undertaking to . .
See AlsoDar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Company (C) and Another v Al-Sayed Bader Hashim Al-Refai and Others QBD 20-Dec-2013
The defendants sought an order for the committal of officers of the clamant for having failed to comply with court orders and a preservation undertaking, saying that the claimant had destroyed evidence.
Held: The claimants said that such an . .

Cited by:
Appeal fromDar Al Arkan Real Estate Development Co and Another v Al Refai and Others CA 23-May-2014
The court considered the extra-territorial reach of proceedings for civil contempt against the director of a foreign company which has instituted proceedings in this jurisdiction but has not complied with an order of the court where the director is . .
CitedOtkritie International Investment Management and Others v Urumov CA 14-Oct-2014
The claimants brought proceedings against several defendants. There had been a series of hearings conducted by a single judge leading to findings that several defendants had been involved in a fraud. The defendants sought recusal of that judge . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Litigation Practice

Updated: 20 January 2022; Ref: scu.523699

HM Attorney General v Crosland: SC 20 Dec 2021

In October 2020, the Supreme Court heard an appeal. C, an unregistered barrister, represented a charity in his capacity of director.
A copy of the Supreme Court’s draft judgment was circulated to the parties’ representatives, to enable them to make suggestions for the correction of any errors, to prepare submissions on consequential matters, and to prepare themselves for the publication of the judgment.
It was stated on the draft judgment, and in a covering email, that the draft was strictly confidential.
Nonetheless, on the day before the judgment was due to be made public, C sent an email to the Press Association containing a statement in which he disclosed the outcome of the appeal. The statement was also published on the charity’s Twitter account. These disclosures led to the publication of the outcome of the Heathrow appeal in the national media and on Twitter, prior to the judgment being delivered.
C now appealed against a finding of contempt, the imposition of a fine, and costs, asking first, whether the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to entertain an appeal against orders of the Supreme Court acting as a court of first instance in the exercise of its contempt jurisdiction, and second, whether the First Instance Panel was correct to hold C in contempt of court and to order the amount of costs that it did.
Held: (Lady Arden dissenting) The appeal failed. Section 13 of the Administration of Justice Act 1960 gives a right of appeal from an exercise by the Supreme Court of its contempt jurisdiction, acting at first instance. Section 13 gives such a right of appeal from any court (subject to irrelevant exceptions) and expressly includes the Supreme Court within the meaning of ‘court’. It is not a conceptual impossibility to appeal from one panel of the Supreme Court to another larger panel. The contempt finding was proper and stood.

Lord Briggs
Lady Arden
Lord Kitchin
Lord Burrows
Lady Rose
[2021] UKSC 58
Bailii
England and Wales

Contempt of Court, Costs

Updated: 16 January 2022; Ref: scu.671050

Balli, Re Contempt of Court Act 1981 (No. 2): ChD 15 Jul 2011

The defendant litigant had been found guilty of contempt in the face of court and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. The contemnor now sought to purge his contempt.
Held: The sentence had been imposed as punishment and not to seek to enforce compliance with the order. As a result of his behaviour have had been struck from the roll of solicitors, and his remorse appeared genuine. The sentence had been neither excessive or inappropriate, and it would normally be wrong to reduce it. However the sentence so far served, whatever its impact on him was insufficient to mark the gravity of the contempt. The applicant should serve a further two weeks in prison, and then be released, and the sentence commuted accordingly.
Simon Barker QC HHJ said: The phrase ‘in the face of the court’ is not to be construed literally as meaning in court during a hearing, or even as necessarily being confined to conduct within the precincts of the court. However, there must be a direct and cogent connection with proceedings ongoing before a court .

Simon Barker QC HHJ
[2011] EWHC 1865 (Ch)
Bailii
Contempt of Court Act 1981
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRe W (B) (An Infant) CA 1969
Where part of a sentence for contempt was suspended, and the defendant failed to meet the condition required for continued suspension, the court was not under an obligation to make the suspended part operative. . .
Sentence imposedBalli (Also Known As Ravinder Singh), Re Contempt of Court ChD 1-Jul-2011
Mr Ballie, a former solicitor, was found guity of contempt in the face of the court and sentenced to six months imprisonment. It was said that he had continued to call himself a solicitor and had so practised after he had been struck from the Roll . .
CitedHarris v Harris; Harris v Attorney General FD 21-May-2001
The applicant had been committed for ten months for contempt, being in breach of family court injunctions. He applied to be released after two months on the basis that the unserved balance of the sentence be suspended. The court held that it had the . .
CitedLightfoot v Lightfoot CA 1989
In matrimonial proceedings, Mr L had defied a court order to pay redundancy and other money due to him into a solicitors’ joint account upon receipt, pending further order. Mr L received andpound;30,000, paid all the money into his own account, . .
CitedNield and Another v Loveday and Another Admn 13-Jul-2011
The court considered the institution of proceedings for contempt of court based upon an allegation that a document filed in court proceedings and supported by a statement of truth was false. In this case the defendant argued that the first claimant . .
CitedDelaney v Delaney CA 2-Nov-1995
A County Court judge has no power to imprison a contemnor pending a sentence decision. Time spent in custody awaiting trial for contempt would not automatically be set off against the final sentence. Proceedings for contempt can be restored after . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 15 January 2022; Ref: scu.442091

Kirk v Walton: QBD 24 Jul 2008

The defendant sought leave to bring proceedings for contempt of court against the claimant saying that she had had no honest belief in the matters deposed in her statement of truth, in that she had substantially exaggerated her injuries.
Held: Leave was granted. The court approached the application on the basis ‘that the discretion to grant permission should be exercised with great caution; that there must be a strong prima facie case shown against the Claimant, but that I should be careful not to stray at this stage into the merits of the case; that I should consider whether the public interest requires the committal proceedings to be brought; and that such proceedings must be proportionate and in accordance with the overriding objective’ and ‘the context for this application is a particularised schedule of damages in which, before disclosure of the DVD recordings, this Claimant was seeking to recover over andpound;800,000 in damages from the Defendant’s insurers. The allegations are, in my view, sufficiently serious as to merit such proceedings being brought in the public interest and, having regard to the overriding objective, are proportionate in the circumstances. There is, in my judgment, a strong public interest in personal injury claimants pursuing honest claims before the courts.’

Cox J DBE
[2008] EWHC 1780 (QB), [2009] 1 All ER 257
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedMalgar Ltd v R E Leach Engineering Ltd ChD 1-Nov-1999
The Civil Procedure Rules could not change the substantive law. It therefore remained necessary for it to be shown that in addition to knowing that what was said was false, the party had to have known that what was being said was likely to interfere . .
CitedSony Computer Entertainment and Others v. Ball and Others ChD 17-May-2004
Pumfrey J considered the test to be applied when a party applied for leave to commence proceedings for contempt of court against another party: ‘It seems to me, in the light of the judgment in Malgar v. Leach, that the discretion to permit . .

Cited by:
CitedKJM Superbikes Ltd v Hinton CA 20-Nov-2008
The claimant had been sued for the misuse of trademarks by selling motorcycles imported via a parallel market. It claimed that the defendant had filed false evidence in that action, and now appealed a refusal by the judge to bring contempt . .
See AlsoWalton v Kirk QBD 3-Apr-2009
Coulson J considered RSC Order 52 to decide whether he had jurisdiction to hear a complaint of contempt of court arising from statements filed in County Court proceedings and said to be false.
Held: He did have jurisdiction: ‘At the outset of . .
CitedBarnes (T/A Pool Motors) v Seabrook and Others Admn 23-Jul-2010
In each of three cases, the former defendants sought leave to bring claims for contempt of court in respect of what it said were fraudulent claims by the respondents. The defendants argued that a party had first to go to the Attorney General.
CitedStobart Group Ltd and Others v Elliott QBD 11-Apr-2013
The defendant applied to the court for various officers of the cliamant companies to be subject to contempt proceedings. The claimants asked the court to strike of the defendant’s counterclaim and to make a civil restraint order against him. There . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contempt of Court

Updated: 12 January 2022; Ref: scu.272257

Regina v Havant Justices ex parte Palmer: QBD 1985

Palmer was a witness to proceedings before a Magistrates’ Court. Whilst he and the defendant were waiting in the foyer outside the court for the magistrates to consider their decision Palmer threatened the defendant. He was charged with and convicted of a contempt, then sought to appeal. The crown court declined jurisdiction. He then sought judicial review.
Held: On the facts, what had happened was not a contempt since it did not amount to an insult. However, section 12(5) was confined to appeals against sentence only and not to appeals against conviction.
May LJ said: ‘In those circumstances, as again will be readily apparent, it becomes unnecessary for this court to express any final opinion on the decision of the learned circuit Judge at Portsmouth that he had no jurisdiction to hear the appeal by the applicant against the magistrates’ decision. However, well appreciating that any views which I now express may well hereafter be said to be obiter, having had the benefit of extensive argument on the point and also because it is perhaps a more important one than the one with which I have already dealt, I do propose to express a view upon it.
Mr Foskett [counsel for Palmer] drew our attention to what at first sight appears to be the somewhat unhappy wording of s. 12(5) of the 1981 Act, particularly the phrase ‘in relation to a sentence on conviction or finding of guilty of an offence’. At first reading, one might be forgiven for expecting either the word ‘to’ or ‘a’ before the words ‘finding of guilty of an offence’, but neither is there and for my part I think that it is not for the reason put forward in his submissions by Mr Foskett. By s. 59 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 it was provided that the words ‘conviction’ and ‘sentence’ were to cease to be used in relation to children and young persons dealt with summarily and any reference in any enactment passed before or after the commencement of that Act should in the case of a child or a young person be construed as including a reference to that person being found guilty of an offence, a finding of guilty, or an order made upon such a finding. A child or young person, therefore, is not to be convicted; he or she is to be found guilty of an offence. It is for this reason, Mr Foskett submits, that one finds the word ‘conviction’ and the phrase ‘finding of guilty of an offence’ side by side in subs. (5). For my part, I accept that submission and that then leads one to the proper construction of that subsection.
The relevant section of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 in the instant case of those referred to in s. 12(5) of the 1981 Act is s. 108, which provides for a right of appeal to the Crown Court for a person convicted by magistrates – if he pleaded guilty, against sentence; if he did not, against the conviction or sentence. But s. 12(5) of the 1981 Act merely refers to an ‘order’ under s. 12 and applies s. 108 of the Act of the previous year to that order only as it applies ‘in relation to a sentence on conviction or finding of guilty of an offence.’ Thus, in my opinion, the jurisdiction of a Crown court in this context is limited to hearing an appeal against the penalty imposed by magistrates for the contempt which they have found to have been committed: there is no jurisdiction in a Crown Court to hear an appeal by a person against the actual finding of contempt by justices under s. 12(1) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981.
Thus, in my judgment, in the instant case the learned circuit Judge was wholly right to decline jurisdiction in so far as the appeal against the finding of contempt was concerned, although had he been minded to and had the applicant been prepared to proceed on that limited basis, he did, in my judgment, have jurisdiction in respect of penalty.’

May LJ, Nolan J
(1985) 149 JP
Contempt of Court Act 1981 12, Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 108
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedHaw and Another v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court Admn 12-Dec-2007
The defendants appealed convictions for contempt of court, on the basis of having wilfully interrupted the court. The respondent said that no appeal lay.
Held: The statute was ambiguous, and ‘there can be no good reason why a person convicted . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 12 January 2022; Ref: scu.263631

Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills v Marshall: ChD 30 Oct 2015

Application by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for an order that Mr James John Marshall be treated as if he is in contempt of court pursuant to section 453C of the Companies Act.

Pelling QC HHJ
[2015] EWHC 3874 (Ch)
Bailii
England and Wales

Company, Contempt of Court

Updated: 10 January 2022; Ref: scu.560282

Ewing v Crown Court Sitting at Cardiff and Newport and Others: Admn 8 Feb 2016

The court granted judicial review of a decision to prevent the applicant taking notes from the public gallery of the court. The general rule of openness must apply, and though particular exceptional circumstances might allow the making of such an order, no such circumstances applied in this case

Burnett LJ, Sweeney J
[2016] EWHC 183 (Admin), [2016] WLR(D) 62
Bailii, WLRD
England and Wales
Citing:
LeaveKirk, Regina (on The Application of) v Cardiff Crown Court and Others Admn 21-Jan-2015
Leave to bring judicial review was granted of a decision by a judge to ban a member of the public taking notes of open court proceedings in contravention of a direct order from the judge. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contempt of Court, Administrative

Updated: 10 January 2022; Ref: scu.559673

Attorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd: QBD 1978

The AG sought committal for contempt of several journalists after the published the identity of Colonel B, a man who had given evidence at certain committal proceedings under protaction of an order for his anonymity.
Held: The orders were granted.

[1978] 3 All ER 731, [1978] 3 WLR 395, [1979] QB 31
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromAttorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd HL 1-Feb-1979
The appellants were magazines and journalists who published, after committal proceedings, the name of a witness, a member of the security services, who had been referred to as Colonel B during the hearing. An order had been made for his name not to . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Media

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.223343

Attorney General v Scotcher: Admn 16 May 2003

The defendant had acted as a juror. After the trial he wrote to the mother of the defendant and revealed aspects of the jury’s deliberations with which he felt unhappy.
Held: The action was a contempt of court.

Scott Baker LJ and Pitchford J
[2003] EWHC 1380 (Admin)
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
Appeal fromAttorney General v Scotcher HL 19-May-2005
Following a trial, a juror wrote to the defendant’s mother to say that other jury members had not considered the case in a proper manner. He had been given written advice that he was not free to discuss a case with anyone. He appealed his conviction . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.185324

Regina v Horsham Justices ex parte Farquharson: CA 1982

The Court was asked whether the justices had had power under section 4(2) to impose reporting restrictions on committal proceedings pending the trial to which they related..
Held: They had. A premature publication in contravention of a postponement order under section 4(2) of which the publisher was aware is a contempt of court notwithstanding section 6(b). The section creates a new head of contempt, separate and distinct from the strict liability rule.
Shaw LJ: ‘The words ‘pending or imminent’ have been held to include the possible (not necessarily the inevitable) outcome of legal process’.
Lord Denning (dissenting): ‘[Counsel] suggested that once an order is made by a court under section 4(2), and a newspaper publishes in breach of it, then the newspaper is automatically guilty of a contempt of court without any inquiry as to whether the order was rightly made or not. I cannot accept this suggestion for one moment. It would mean that every court in the land would be given a new power, by its own order, to postpone indefinitely publication in the newspapers of the whole or any part of the proceedings before it, or in another court. Such an order could be made, and would be made, against the newspaper without their having any notice of it or any opportunity of being heard on it. They have no right of appeal against it. It could be done on the application of one party, and the acquiescence of the other, without the court itself giving much, if any, thought to the public interest. It would be nothing more nor less than a power, by consent of the parties, to muzzle the press. . . Parliament has, I think, guarded against this danger. It has done so by [section 6(b)].’ and ‘It has long been settled that the courts have power to make an order postponing publication (but not prohibiting it) if the postponement is necessary for the furtherance of justice in proceedings which are pending or imminent. It was so held in [Clement] which was approved by the House of Lords in Scott v Scott . .’
Ackner LJ gave his view of the object of section 4(2): ‘First of all, the power is a power to postpone, not to prohibit totally, publication. Secondly, the power may be exercised in relation to only a part of the proceedings. Thirdly, that in order for the jurisdiction to be exercised the court must be satisfied that an order is necessary for avoiding a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice. The obvious case for the postponement of a report of proceedings is where the substantive trial or retrial has yet to take place, or where a fair and accurate report of one trial might still prejudice another trial still to be heard. The prejudice to the administration of justice which is envisaged is the reduction in the power of the court of doing that which is the end for which it exists – namely, to administer justice duly, impartially, and with reference solely to the facts judicially brought before it: per Wills J. in Rex v. Parke [1903] 2.K.B. 432, 438, 444. What the court is generally concerned with is the position of a juryman who, unlike the judge, has neither the training nor the experience to assist him in putting out of his mind matter which are not evidence in the case.’

Lord Denning MR, Shaw and Ackner LJJ
[1982] 1 QB 762
Contempt of Court Act 1981 4(1) 4(2)
England and Wales
Citing:
CitedRegina v Poulson and Pottinger CACD 1974
The trial judge said that he did not see how the press could report the evidence in the case without running the risk of being in contempt of other criminal proceedings which had already begun against Poulson and other defendants in respect of . .
CitedAttorney-General v Leveller Magazine Ltd HL 1-Feb-1979
The appellants were magazines and journalists who published, after committal proceedings, the name of a witness, a member of the security services, who had been referred to as Colonel B during the hearing. An order had been made for his name not to . .

Cited by:
CitedRegina v Legal Aid Board ex parte Kaim Todner (a Firm of Solicitors) CA 10-Jun-1998
Limitation on Making of Anonymity Orders
A firm of solicitors sought an order for anonymity in their proceedings against the LAB, saying that being named would damage their interests irrespective of the outcome.
Held: The legal professions have no special part in the law as a party . .
CitedHM Attorney General v Yaxley-Lennon QBD 9-Jul-2019
Application by Her Majesty’s Attorney General for an order committing the respondent to prison for contempt of court. . .
CitedTimes Newspapers Ltd and others v Regina CACD 30-Jul-2007
The newspaper and other media companies appealed from an order restricting the reporting of parts of the evidence given in a trial for an offence under the 1989 Act. The objected that the order did not serve, as required, to protect any proceedings, . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Media

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.198078

Attorney General v Scotcher: HL 19 May 2005

Following a trial, a juror wrote to the defendant’s mother to say that other jury members had not considered the case in a proper manner. He had been given written advice that he was not free to discuss a case with anyone. He appealed his conviction for contempt of court, saying that his intention had been to support the court process, and that Mirza had changed the applicable law.
Held: Section 8(1) did not infringe the defendant’s rights, and therefore article 3 did not come into play. ‘In reality Mr Starmer is complaining about the warnings to jurors, which were based on a misinterpretation of section 8(1). But the terms of those warnings could not affect either the interpretation of the statute or the appellant’s guilt, one way or the other. At most, they might have been relevant to mitigation. In fact, however, the warnings are irrelevant since, by writing the letter, the appellant showed that he was not restrained by being warned that he would be in contempt of court if he disclosed the jury’s deliberations to anyone. That being so, the warnings would not have stopped him from contacting the court authorities, or consulting a lawyer about the matter, if he had wanted to.’
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry considered the application of section 3 of the 1998 Act to section 8 of the 1981 Act, saying: ‘As I have already explained, it was not disputed that the appellant could, if appropriate, invoke sections 3 and 4 of the 1998 Act. In my view, however, neither section avails him in this case. The appellant’s rights under article 10(1) were, of course, engaged but in terms of article 10(2) the right to freedom of expression can be subject to a restriction which is prescribed by law and is necessary in a democratic society ‘for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence.’ In Gregory v United Kingdom (1997) 25 EHRR 577, 594, para 44, the European Court acknowledged that the rule governing the secrecy of jury deliberations is a crucial and legitimate feature of English trial law. Therefore, in so far as section 8(1) serves to reinforce that rule by making it an offence for a juror to disclose the information which he receives in confidence from his fellow jurors, the objective is sufficiently important to justify limiting the juror’s freedom of expression in this way. The provision is rationally connected to its aim and the means adopted are no more than is reasonably necessary, since the restriction does not apply to bona fide disclosures to the court authorities. The measure is accordingly ‘reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.” and ‘Section 3 of the 1998 Act comes into play only where it is needed in order to make a legislative provision compatible with a Convention right. As Mr Starmer accepts, however, when properly interpreted according to domestic canons of construction, section 8(1) is compatible with article 10 of the Convention. That being so, section 3 does not apply.’

Lord Steyn, Lord Hutton, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Baroness Hale of Richmond, Lord Carswell
[2005] 1WLR 1825, Times 20-May-2005, [2005] UKHL 36, [2005] 3 All ER 1
Bailii, House of Lords
Contempt of Court Act 1981 8(1), European Convention on Huma Rights 10
England and Wales
Citing:
Appeal fromAttorney General v Scotcher Admn 16-May-2003
The defendant had acted as a juror. After the trial he wrote to the mother of the defendant and revealed aspects of the jury’s deliberations with which he felt unhappy.
Held: The action was a contempt of court. . .
CitedRegina v Connor and another; Regina v Mirza HL 22-Jan-2004
Extension of Inquiries into Jury Room Activities
The defendants sought an enquiry as to events in the jury rooms on their trials. They said that the secrecy of a jury’s deliberations did not fit the human right to a fair trial. In one case, it was said that jurors believed that the defendant’s use . .
CitedHM Attorney-General v Associated Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 4-Feb-1994
Following the acquittal of a prominent politician on a charge of conspiracy to murder, the New Statesman magazine published an article, based on an interview with one of the jurors, which gave an account of significant parts of the jury’s . .
CitedRegina v Smith, Regina v Mercieca HL 16-Feb-2005
A member of the jury wrote to the judge saying that other members were failing to discharge their duties properly. Smith took a tactical decision not to seek a retrial. The judge saw counsel in chambers, after which the jury were reminded of their . .
CitedThe Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for an Order etc SCS 29-Aug-2000
The court drew attention to the difference between the situation where the court itself makes inquiries as to events in the jury retiring room with the aim of bringing the court in question into contempt and that where it makes inquiries with the . .
CitedPractice Direction (Crown court: Guidance to Jurors) CACD 23-Feb-2004
Where jurors had concerns about the behaviour of fellow jurors, they should bring these to the attention of the judge during the trial rather than after. Jurors should be told of this, but not in such a way as to encourage inappropriate criticism of . .
CitedGregory v The United Kingdom ECHR 25-Feb-1997
gregory_ukECHR1997
A judge’s direction to the jury to disregard any question of racial bias was sufficient to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. In discussing the protection of the secrecy of jury deliberations: ‘The court acknowledges that the rule governing the . .
CitedDe Freitas v The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Lands and Housing and others PC 30-Jun-1998
(Antigua and Barbuda) The applicant was employed as a civil servant. He joined a demonstration alleging corruption in a minister. It was alleged he had infringed his duties as a civil servant, and he replied that the constitution allowed him to . .

Cited by:
CitedHM Attorney General v Seckerson and Times Newspapers Ltd Admn 13-May-2009
The first defendant had been foreman of a jury in a criminal trial. He was accused of disclosing details of the jury’s votes and their considerations with concerns about the expert witnesses to the second defendant. The parties disputed the extent . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Criminal Practice, Human Rights

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.225009

Actial Farmaceutica Lda v De Simone: CA 6 Aug 2015

The parties disputed the use of confidential information regarding methods for the preparation of special youghurt bacteria. Appeal was now made by the defendant against interim orders made.

Jackson, Kitchin Ryder LJJ
[2015] EWCA Civ 1032
Bailii
England and Wales

Contempt of Court, Contract, Intellectual Property

Updated: 05 January 2022; Ref: scu.553679

HM Attorney General v Scarth: Admn 23 Jan 2013

Application by Her Majesty’s Solicitor General for the committal of Mr Scarth for contempt of court.
Held: The contempt was clear. Whilst a scheme for medical help would be preferable, there appeared to be no possibility that the defendant would complay and therefore a suspended committal was ordered.

Judge LCJ, Keith, Globe JJ
[2013] EWHC 194 (Admin)
Bailii

Contempt of Court

Updated: 03 January 2022; Ref: scu.551948

National Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others (Costs): QBD 18 Nov 2021

[2021] EWHC 3093 (QB)
Bailii
England and Wales
Citing:
Main judgmentNational Highways Ltd v Heyatawin and Others QBD 17-Nov-2021
The court considered allegations of contempt of court by protesters disobeying court injunctions.
Held: The allegations were variously proved, and indeed were largely uncontested. Sentences of imprisonment were imposed ranging up to 6 months: . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Costs, Contempt of Court

Updated: 01 January 2022; Ref: scu.669941

ADM Rice Inc v Corporacion Comercializadora De Granos Basicos Sa and Others: AdCt 21 Jul 2015

The claimant applied to commit the defendant and first respondent (abbreviated to ‘CORCOSA’) for contempt of court, also applying to commit the second and third respondents on the basis that they are directors and/or officers of CORCOSA and are responsible for CORCOSA’s failure to comply with the relevant orders.

Phillips J
[2015] EWHC B1 (Admlty)
Bailii
England and Wales

Transport, Contempt of Court

Updated: 31 December 2021; Ref: scu.553923

QRS v Beach and Another: QBD 22 May 2015

The court considered the appropriate procedure on an application for committal for contempt of court where the defendant had been served, but had taken no steps to respond or appear at court.

Sir David Eady
[2015] EWHC 1489 (QB), [2015] 1 WLR 2701
Bailii
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedBrett Wilson Llp v Person(s) Unknown, Responsible for The Operation and Publication of The Website www.solicitorsfromhelluk.com QBD 16-Sep-2015
The claimant solicitors sought remedies against the unknown publishers of the respondent website which was said to publish material defamatory of them, and to ampunt to harassment.
Held: The alleged defamatory meanings were not challenged by . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 30 December 2021; Ref: scu.548004