A court asked to sentence for contempt of court is not sentencing for the criminal equivalent of what the contemnor has done, and ‘Great care must be taken, if there are concurrent criminal or civil proceedings, to ensure that sentences in two or more courts do not punish twice for the same thing.’
May LJ drew attention to the increased powers of punishment contained in the 1997 Act. The 1996 Act limits the maximum penalty to two years’ imprisonment under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, whereas under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 there are different circumstances where a maximum punishment of five years’ imprisonment is available to the court. The jurisdiction of the court under the 1997 Act is both by way of ordinary criminal proceedings and by way of civil proceedings. In general the view may be taken that if a case warrants a sentence near the top of the range the appropriate course is probably to bring proceedings under the 1997 Act so that the greater powers of punishment are available to the court.
Mr Justice Wall The Hon. Mr Justice Dyson The Right Honourable Lord Justice May
 EWCA Civ 1691,  2 FLR 329
Family Law Act 1996 42, Protection from Harassment Act 1997
England and Wales
Cited – Slade v Slade CA 17-Jul-2009
Contempt sentence to reflect existing punishment
The wife appealed against a sentence of imprisonment imposed for a second contempt of court. She said that the behaviour complained of had already been dealt with in criminal proceedings.
Held: The sentence was reduced. The second court should . .
Cited – Murray v Robinson CA 12-Jul-2005
M appealed from findings that he had been in contempt of court for three breaches of non-molestation injunctions.
Held: In this area, as in other areas, imprisonment needs to be reserved for those cases where imprisonment is necessary. It must . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 14 October 2021; Ref: scu.220715