Contempt of Court: Scandalising the Court - A Consultation Paper
Consultation Paper 207
- Law Commission
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Contempt of Court: Scandalising the Court - A Consultation Paper (Consultation Paper 207)' forms part of a wider project by the the Law Commission on contempt. Work on this aspect of contempt has been brought forward to tie in with the Government's consideration of the possible abolition of the offence under the Crime and Courts Bill.
Scandalising the court has been defined as 'any act done or writing published calculated to bring a Court or a judge of the Court into contempt, or to lower his authority'. There has not been a successful prosecution for scandalising the court in England and Wales since 1931, although it has been used more recently in other common law jurisdictions.
A well-publicised case in spring 2012 highlighted the historic common law offence of scandalising the court. This offence covers conduct likely to undermine the administration of justice or public confidence in the administration of justice, where the conduct does not impinge on particular proceedings.
The controversy surrounding this offence relates to:
the lack of clarity about both the conduct element and the mental element;
the lack of clarity about the defences available;
the justification for retaining such an offence in a well-established democracy; and
the compatibility of the offence with freedom of speech and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The consultation considers whether the current offence of scandalising the court should be abolished or, in the alternative, whether it should be retained but modified, and if so, how.
|Format||Paperback||Published||10 Aug 2012|
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