What is contempt of court?

7th Jan 2016

CATEGORY: Criminal

1 answer
  • Contempt of court refers to interfering with the administration of justice through acts or omissions. This means that any person who disobeys a court's authority, encourage disrespect for a court or impedes the court's ability to complete its job can be found to be in contempt of court.

    There are two types of contempt that are recognised in UK law, criminal contempt and civil contempt. Civil contempt of court most commonly refers to people who do not honour the terms of a court order. Criminal contempt of court would be the case for instances where an individual disrupts court proceedings during a trial by shouting or causing a disturbance.

    Contempt of court can be either direct or indirect. Direct contempt refers to actions that occur when inside the court, most often during court proceedings. Indirect contempt of court makes reference to acts of contempt that take place outside of the presence of the court.

    Civil contempt of court usually ends upon the person who is in contempt complying with the terms of the court order or upon the resolution of the underlying case. Both civil and criminal contempt of court cases can be punishable by a fine or imprisonment in severe cases.

    To avoid such a prosecution, it is vital to respect the authority of a court and abide the terms outlined in any order or process.

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