WHAT IS Contempt of Courts Act 1971 and Rules

The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 (the COCA) and its Rules are the rules for dealing with contempt of court. The COCA was introduced by the British Parliament in 1971 to deal with a range of civil and

The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 (the COCA) and its Rules are the rules for dealing with contempt of court. The COCA was introduced by the British Parliament in 1971 to deal with a range of civil and criminal offences committed against the administration of justice, including public disorder, sexual or racial harassment, threats and intimidation of judges, and interference with witnesses.

 

The COCA aims to protect the independence and impartiality of courts by prohibiting certain types of behaviour that may undermine public confidence in the administration of justice.

 

The punishment for contempt under the COCA can be imprisonment for up to two years or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale; this includes an unlimited fine if it is proven that the person has committed a serious offence.

 

The scope of application of contempt laws has been consistently narrowed over time so that only certain types of conduct are now covered by these laws. In general terms, this means that only conduct which is designed deliberately to interfere with or disrupt court proceedings will be punishable under these laws.

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