The Law Of Contempt Of Court

1464 Words Sep 19th, 2014 6 Pages
Contempt of court is ‘any words spoken or written, or any conduct which might impede the working of the court, or which could create a disregard of the authority of our justice system.’ (Samson, 2014). The two most common types of contempt of court are sub judice rule and the failure to obey a court order. Most of the law of contempt in New Zealand is common law, however, parts of it that deal with the conduct in court and specific offenses that relate to the administration such as perjury, are considered as statutes.

Sub judice rule is designed to avoid unfair prejudice to the parties to prevent trial by news media, and to preserve the judicial authority of the courts. It is this rule which had created the most controversy over whether it is high time that the contempt of court is reformed to fit the ‘Internet Age’ we live in today. The outdated language and concepts only reiterates that the law was developed prior to the ‘Internet Age’ and the enactment of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 (s 25).

Smith and Dean state that ‘publication contempt includes any publications that interfere with the conduct of particular legal proceedings and publications that undermine the judiciary through scurrilous abuse, or by allegations of bias and partiality’ (2011). ‘Scandalising the court’ is a contempt issue that addresses and describes publications that tend to undermine the judicial system (NZLC IP36). In this essay, both ‘publication contempt’ and ‘scandalising the court’…

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