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Britain to drop 'out-of-date' Contempt of Court Law

London , Mon, 13 Aug 2012 ANI

London, Aug. 13 (ANI): Britain has decided to drop the Contempt of Court Law, after the government's official law reform organisation termed it as being out-of-date.

Judges no longer need the old law to protect themselves from slanderous abuse, and any attempt to use it, would risk bringing the judiciary into disrespect, reports the Daily Times.

David Ormerod of the British Law Commission said, "We are making a proposal to abolish this anachronistic form of contempt of court."

"We are not leaving judges unprotected here. If the publication involves threats or harassment, it could be prosecuted, and in other circumstances, judges could rely on the civil law by bringing proceedings for libel," Ormerod added.

The last successful prosecution was more than 80 years ago, and there was controversy this year over an attempt to bring a case against former Northern Ireland secretary Peter Hain over criticism of a judge in his memoirs.

Scandalising the court is a form of contempt of court, triggered by publishing anything that ridicules the judiciary so that it is likely to bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

It was revived in the middle of the 18th century to deal with critics of the establishment, but has since fallen into disuse, the paper said.

A separate offence of scandalising the face of the court would continue to exist. (ANI)


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