In Re Swaptronics Ltd: ChD 24 Jul 1998

A party who was in contempt of court should not be debarred from continuing to take a proper part in a court action unless that contempt was serious enough seriously to interfere with the fair conduct of the trial. ‘The courts need powers of punishment with which to enforce their orders. The ones they have at present are adequate. They ‘do not need a power which deprives the litigant of his right to litigate. Indeed it seems to me that were the courts to refuse to allow those in contempt access to the courts simply on the grounds that they are in contempt, they could well be acting in breach of the provisions of Article 6.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights which entitles everyone to the determination of his civil rights by means of a fair and public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal. The ‘everyone’ in that Article is not subject to an exception in respect of people who are guilty of serious offences or contempt of court.’ and ‘Sir Robert Megarry’s Miscellany-at-Law records that in 1631 a litigant who threw a brickbat at a judge, but missed, had his right hand chopped off and nailed to the gibbet on which he was thereafter hanged in the presence of the court. I am not sure what would have happened to him had his aim been better.’


Laddie J


Times 17-Aug-1998, Gazette 23-Sep-1998, [1998] All ER (D) 407


European Convention on Human Rights 6.1


England and Wales


CitedHadkinson v Hadkinson CA 1952
The courts adopt an approach similar to that of the United States courts where there has been a significant contempt on the part of a party to litigation. Denning LJ said: ‘Those cases seem to me to point the way to the modern rule. It is a strong . .

Cited by:

CitedMotorola Credit Corporation v Uzan and others (No 2) CA 12-Jun-2003
World-wide freezing orders had been made under the 1982 Act. The defendants were members of a Turkish family with substantial business interests in the telecommunications industry. In breach of orders made in the US some defendants had sought to . .
CitedPolanski v Conde Nast Publications Limited CA 11-Nov-2003
The claimant sought damages for defamation. He feared arrest and extradition to the US if he came to England, and was granted an order allowing him to give evidence by video link. The defendant appealed that order.
Held: There was no absolute . .
CitedArrow Nominees Inc, Blackledge v Blackledge ChD 2-Nov-1999
The applicants sought to strike out a claim under section 459. The two companies sold toiletries, the one as retail agent for the other. They disputed the relationship of the companies, and the use of a trading name. Documents were disclosed which . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Human Rights

Updated: 25 July 2022; Ref: scu.82214