The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Richard Shepherd of Albion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
ARCHIVED: This Practice Note has been archived and is not maintained.
This Practice Note is for historical reference only as it refers to CPR 81 as it was in force prior to 1 October 2020, and to Practice Direction 81 which is revoked in its entirety with effect from 1 October 2020. If you are dealing with a committal application post 1-October 2020 you need to refer to the current in force CPR 81 and the Practice Notes covering this, see: Contempt and committal—overview.
For the pre-1 October 2020 version of CPR 81 or Practice Direction 81, see:
This Practice Note examines the principles and purposes of sentencing in contempt and writ of sequestration cases following a successful committal application. It does not seek to set out a sentencing guide as to the appropriateness or otherwise of the length of a sentence in any given circumstances. As per Longhurst v Killen, length of sentence will always depend on a wide variety of matters and, of course, the nature of the contempt itself.
Under section 14 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 (CCA 1981), the maximum term of imprisonment that the court can order is two years on ‘one occasion’.
The decision as to the length of sentence appropriate in a particular case must take into account that the maximum sentence is two years. However, because the maximum
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