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the case of Khawaja v Popat and Popat  EWCA Civ 362, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against an order for committal following the appellant contemnor’s breach of a freezing order.
In doing so, it:
This judgment is of particular interest to practitioners in the practical implications of exercising a ‘right to silence’ and in the attitude the courts adopt to defects in contempt applications.
Evidence—parties to committal applications should give careful consideration to the evidence in support and in response to the application. In particular:
Appeals—given the wide discretion afforded judges in determining committal applications and, particular, in imposing sentences for contempt, think carefully before seeking to appeal a committal order. As ever, it is generally better to seek to persuade
the court at first instance rather than seek to overturn that decision on appeal
Application defects—although defects in the making of or pursuing an application for committal are not to be taken lightly, when seeking to challenge a committal application or order on grounds of defects in the application, focus on the 'quality'
rather than 'quantity' of the defects. Here, the Court of Appeal was clear the fundamental consideration when waiving a committal application defect under CPR PD 81, para 16.2 is whether any injustice had been caused to the respondent
Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution subscribers can read a detailed analysis of this decision, including the Court of Appeal’s consideration of and approach to the right to silence and to defects in committal applications here: Contempt—beware the 'right to silence' (Khawaja v Popat).
Click here for a free trial to access if you are not a PSL subscriber.
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