Law - Contempt of Court

Topics: Judge, Human rights, Common law Pages: 2 (503 words) Published: March 16, 2002
Contempt is generally defined as an act of disobedience to an order of a court, or an act of disrespect of a court. A client's failure to comply with a restraining order, a visitation order or an injunction in any kind of action may result in a finding of contempt of court, no matter the intention.

The court has the power to punish neglection, violation of duty, or any other misconduct. Also a non-payment of a sum of money, ordered by the court to be paid can lead to contempt of court. Another type of contempt is whether the contempt charged is civil or criminal in nature. The difference between civil and criminal contempt is the remedy sought. If the purpose of the contempt order is remedial, such as to force the accused to obey a court order, the contempt is civil. If the purpose of the contempt order is to punish a past wrongful conduct, and thereby preserve the dignity and integrity of the court, the contempt is criminal. Assuming contempt of court is shown, it is punishable with many criminal penalties, such as imprisonment or fines. A fine is readily imposed on either an individual person or a trade union . Contempt of court concerning journalistic matters was dealt by the common law until 1981. Newspapers were almost always held for contempt of court because of what they wrote. The decisions were quite strict due to the fact that they were made by judges. After the Contempt of Court Act of 1981, matters concerning contempt of court were dealt by acts of Parliament. With this act a person can be found liable for contempt of court in two cases: 1)When a publication made by an individual had caused prejudice or impediment to particular proceedings 2)Proceedings are active.

The court can punish journalists with contempt of court in many ways. One way is for him to show a document, image, video or audio material to the public, which might interfere with the courts' decision at a trial. Another way in which a journalist can be sentenced to contempt of court...
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