Civil contempt proceedings—evidence and the hearing
Produced in partnership with Alexander West of Albion Chambers
Last updated on 30/09/2020

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Alexander West of Albion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Civil contempt proceedings—evidence and the hearing
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Hearing to be in public
  • Directions and evidence for the hearing
  • The defendant’s evidence
  • Listing of the hearing and the need to allow sufficient time
  • Securing the defendant’s attendance at a hearing
  • Proceeding with a contempt hearing in the defendant’s absence
  • No absolute right of the defendant to attend
  • A nine-point checklist—Sanchez v Oboz and Oboz
  • More...

Civil contempt proceedings—evidence and the hearing

This Practice Note considers the hearing of contempt proceedings under CPR 81 (also referred to as ‘committal proceedings’), including whether the court will sit in public or in private, what directions the court will make in advance of the hearing, the timing of the hearing and the evidence that will be presented at the hearing, In respect of the defendant it looks at what happens if the defendant is absent at the hearing, the defendant’s right to silence, and the defendant’s entitlement to legal aid, legal representation and/or an interpreter. It also considers the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the hearing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance detailing normal practice set out in this Practice Note may be affected by measures concerning process and procedure in the civil courts that have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19) implications for dispute resolution, in particular the section on Attending hearings.

For further guidance on the changes to court processes and procedures during the coronavirus pandemic and the implications of those changes for dispute resolution practitioners, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19) implications for dispute resolution.

Hearing to be in public

The English judicial system operates on a first principle of open justice, from which there are, on occasion, permitted derogations.

CPR 81.8(1) provides that:

‘all hearings of contempt proceedings

Related documents:
Key definition:
committal definition
What does committal mean?

sending someone to another court (for example, from a magistrates' court to the Crown Court to be sentenced), or sending someone to be detained (for example, in prison);

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