HM 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: ‘ . . when, uniquely, the respondents published in a national newspaper, with a readership of millions, these items identifying these possible defendants, that created a real, substantial, more than remote practical risk that the course of justice would be seriously impeded or prejudiced. At its lowest, the publication rendered the complainant highly vulnerable to cross-examination on the basis that her identification, whether as to who was present and who did what (and it matters not which), was tainted by what she had read’ Contempt was proved.


[2004] EWHC 2859 (Admin)




Contempt of Court Act 1981


England and Wales


CitedAttorney-General v The Guardian CA 1992
To be caught under the Act the risk of prejudice to a trial caused by a publication alleged to be in breach must be practical and not theoretical. . .
CitedAttorney-General v English HL 1981
The risk of impediment or prejudice to a trial from a publication has to be assessed at the date of publication. ‘Substantial risk’ in section 2(2) means a risk which is more than remote. Lord Diplock said: ‘Next for consideration is the . .
CitedAttorney-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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court

Updated: 19 July 2022; Ref: scu.220532