Media L4 - Media Lecture 4 Contempt of Court Act 1981...

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Media Lecture 4 Contempt of Court Act 1981 – crated in response to the Sunday Times case. Made a harder test to satisfy to achieve an injunction, the bar was raised. S2(2) is the key test… 1) Q ‘substantial risk’ of impact?’ 2) Q if ‘proceedings will be prejudiced?’ The courts took a fairly cautious approach in early cases. Now the highest authority is from A-G v English which was especially hard for the prosecution to satisfy the s2(2) test, particularly the ‘substantial risk’ test. A-G v Newsgroup Newspapers – the courts moved to a more liberal interpretation of s2(2). The mail on Sunday produced articles on Ian Botham. Mr Botham issued a writ for liable = created a possibility for civil action. There was a significant gap of 10 months between this writ and the hearing. This period was ‘active’ under s2(3). The news of the world informed Botham that they would publish similar articles in the active period. The Q was whether s2(2) would be satisfied? An injunction against the news of the world was requested. It was asked whether injunctions could occur in contempt actions as a prior restraint justified under the administration of justice. The court of appeal found there should be an injunction. The two limb test was employed… The risk in question was not minimal. The effect of the article was irrelevant unless it caused serious prejudice. e.g.1 a small public meeting in the south about the trial of a person in the north. If they produced articles in restrictive circulation and disclosed previous convictions this is prejudice, but the risk of this is minimal. i.e. the second limb of the test is satisfied but not the first. e.g.2 A national broadcast on trial could discuss the case without being prejudiced. There is a substantial risk (i.e. the jurors being exposed to the broadcast) but there was no serious prejudice in the broadcast. Note that in the case concerning
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Media L4 - Media Lecture 4 Contempt of Court Act 1981...

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