Civil contempt proceedings—interference with the administration of justice
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—interference with the administration of justice
  • What will amount to interference with the administration of justice?
  • When is the permission of the court required?
  • What needs (and does not need) to be proved to establish interference with the administration of justice?

Civil contempt proceedings—interference with the administration of justice

This Practice Note considers when contempt proceedings under CPR 81 (also referred to as ‘committal proceedings’) can be brought where an interference with the administration of justice is alleged, including where a party needs the court’s permission to bring such an application.

This Practice Note does not deal with contempt in the face of the court or disobedience to a court order or breach of an undertaking. For more information on these, see Practice Notes: Civil contempt proceedings—contempt in the face of the court and Civil contempt proceedings—non-compliance with a court order or undertaking.

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Note: Civil contempt proceedings—nature and legal framework, giving a general overview of the key considerations in these types of proceedings.

What will amount to interference with the administration of justice?

The ways in which an individual can be held in contempt for interfering with the administration of justice are varied. The following is a non-exhaustive list of convenient examples where such allegations have been made:

  1. recording remote court proceedings without the court’s permission (Finch, R v Surrey County Council)—see News Analysis: Recording remote court proceedings—follow the rules or risk contempt of court (Finch, R v Surrey County Council)

  2. where metadata was falsified on photographs (Stanmore Quality Surfacing v Kartel, 21 July 2016 (not reported by LexisNexis®))

  3. taking photographs

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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