Should absent contemnors continue to have a right of appeal?

Should absent contemnors continue to have a right of appeal?

We are all aware of the recent spate of high profile cases arising out of banking fraud proceedings in which committal orders have been made for breach of freezing orders.

However, what impact do these orders have where the contemnor refuses to attend court preferring to stay hidden out of view in other jurisdictions – think Ablyazov who was recently tracked down in France.

The Court of Appeal has recently been seen to take a firm stand against those that seek to flout court orders in Thursfield v Thursfield [2013] EWCA Civ 840.  As Jackson LJ stated  ‘It is repugnant to the proper administration of justice that a contemnor can flout orders of the court then absent himself from the committal hearing, then avoid serving whatever prison sentence is imposed and then finally avail himself of the procedures of the Court of Appeal whilst enjoying the shelter of some safe haven overseas'.

The Court of Appeal has called for reform in this area so as to implement a permission requirement where the contemnor has refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the court; at present the contemnor can appeal as of right without the need to obtain permission first.

We are interested to hear your views on this. What do you think?

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About the author:

Janna is a dispute resolution lawyer. She deals primarily with cross border issues and is active in the work being undertaken in relation to the implications of Brexit for Dispute Resolutions lawyers. Janna also heads up a LexisNexis costs team bringing together expertise from across the company to deal with the costs issues facing the profession.