Replacing common law contempt with statutory offences
8.1In the previous chapters, we have discussed replacing particular forms of contempt with statutory offences:
- Chapter 3 explores whether changes are needed to the current statutory offences for contempt in the face of the court.
- Chapter 4 discusses a possible statutory offence to replace publication contempt concerning particular proceedings.
- Chapter 5 asks whether there should be new statutory offences for juror research and disclosure of jury deliberations.
- Chapter 6 seeks views on whether there should be a statutory offence relating to publications that undermine confidence in the judiciary generally.
- Chapter 7 proposes a new offence for serious breaches of court orders that undermine public confidence in the administration of justice.
8.2In this chapter, we discuss the issue of whether all contempt offences should be codified and how the statutory offences might operate in practice.
8.3Section 9 of the Crimes Act 1961 provides:
9 Offences not to be punishable except under New Zealand Acts
No one shall be convicted of any offence at common law, or of any offence against any Act of the Parliament of England or the Parliament of Great Britain or the Parliament of the United Kingdom:
(a) nothing in this section shall limit or affect the power or authority of the House of Representatives or of any court to punish for contempt:
8.4Contempt of court is specifically excluded from the general rule that offences are not punishable except under New Zealand legislation. The Law Commission wonders whether this is appropriate in modern New Zealand.