Chapter 3
Contempt in the face of the court

Judicature Modernisation Bill

3.7The Commission’s recommendations on the contempt in the face of the court provisions in new courts legislation were accepted by the Government in April 2013.58 The relevant provisions in the Judicature Modernisation Bill state:59
Contempt of court
(1) This section applies if any person—
(a) wilfully insults a judicial officer, or any Registrar, or any officer of the court, or any juror, or any witness, during his or her sitting or attendance in court, or in going to or returning from the court; or
(b) wilfully interrupts the proceedings of a court or otherwise misbehaves in court; or
(c) wilfully and without lawful excuse disobeys any order or direction of the court in the course of the hearing of any proceedings.
(2) If this section applies,—
(a) any constable or officer of the court, with or without the assistance of any other person, may, by order of a judicial officer, take the person into custody and detain him or her until the rising of the court; and
(b) the judicial officer may, if he or she thinks fit, sentence the person to—
(i) imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 months; or
(ii) a fine not exceeding $1,000 for each offence.
(3) Nothing in this section limits or affects any power or authority of a court to punish any person for contempt of court in any case to which—
(a) this section does not apply; and
(b) the criminal law does not apply.
58Cabinet Minute “Government Response to the Law Commission’s Report: Review of the Judicature Act 1908: Towards a New Court Act”
(15 April 2013) CAB Min (13) 12/18.
59Judicature Modernisation Bill 2013 (178-1), cl 161.