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Contempt of court

Conduct that undermines or interferes with the administration of justice or which deliberately insults or breaches an order of a court. It is punishable, on “committal”, by imprisonment or a fine. The person who commits contempt is known as a “contemnor”.

Examples of contempt of court include:

  • Disobeying or ignoring a court order
  • Taking photos or filming in court without authority to do so
  • Refusing to answer questions as a witness or to produce information without good excuse
  • Reporting or commenting on a case in contravention of reporting restrictions

See also, via, Contempt of court

Decisions to commit a person for contempt of court should be considered in open court, with the alleged contemnor named in the listing, and the judgment published on the Judiciary website, in accordance with Practice Direction (Committal for Contempt: Open Court)  [2015] 1 WLR 2195.

Where a contemnor apologises and makes amends for their contempt, they may be held by the court to have “purged” their contempt, and thereby avoid committal.