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Secret Jailings for Contempt of Court to come to an end

This is a copy of the new rules in respect of jailings for contempt of court. There are two key elements that are new:
a) That all hearings will be listed, so that people know they are happening and,
b) That a public judgment will be published on Bailii.

b) particularly is the key element although a) is important. b) is what was in my private members bill Section 8 (2).


This is a clear victory for the Justice for Families - secret prisoners campaign - where with the assistance of the Daily Mail the rules have been made workable and more accountable. It remains important, however, that we keep an eye on the system to make sure it is following the rules. (which it wasn't in the past)

There are, of course, the issues of a single social worker being able to imprison someone through the court of protection. That I will come to later. I will also keep an eye on the court to make sure that the rules are followed. What is important about this practice direction is that it makes it clear that this includes suspended sentences.

What is also important is to see the judgments being published for recent commitals (say in the past 5 years).

There is also a question as to where the National Council for Civil Liberties (Liberty) were on this. I have asked them for support, but they refused to support my criticism of secret jailings.


Jerry said…
""3. The Court of Protection and, when the application arises out of proceedings
relating to a child, the Family Division, is vested with a discretionary power to
hear a committal application in private. This discretion should be exercised only
in exceptional cases where it is necessary in the interests of justice. The fact that
the committal application is being made in the Court of Protection or in the
Family Division in proceedings relating to a child does not of itself justify the
application being heard in private. Moreover the fact that the hearing of the
committal application may involve the disclosure of material which ought not to
be published does not of itself justify hearing the application in private if such
publication can be restrained by an appropriate order. ""

This point is useless, "Only in Exceptional Circumstances" how many times do we hear these words day in day out,

It still allows a judge to what they want using the above clause.

Its the same as when Judgments are given out regarding family matters, they are due under Art. 6 to be read in public, its been a very very long time since a member of the public was in a court room hearing a passing of a judgment.

Point 5, again allows the Judge under discretion to hear in closed courts, this does go someway to address the issues but using words like "Discretion" "Exceptional" "Public" then nothing has really changed,

I have an Appeal hearing in next few days where the Local Authority tried to Jail a mother for contempt however the judge hearing that case dismissed the case brought by the Local Authority,

I think the best solution to address these secret jailing of people is to have the case heard in a criminal court, I have been on the receiving end of these tactics previously, if I did not have my wits about me then I would probably be in Jail,

Nice attempt by Lord Judge they just need to put a bit more meat on the sandwich
Daisy said…
Hi I am at Newcastle Crown Court on the 13th May for committal for breaching an injunction for posting on facebook, twitter, media sites etc....

For telling the truth !!

Anna Kornas
Allen said…
There is plenty of Case Law that highlights how committal proceedings should be conducted. This should never have happened (and there was no need for new 'rules') but it is yet another example of an arrogant judge overstepping his remit because someone disobeyed him.
Jake Maverick said…
um Shami Chakrabarti? you reckon she wd help, seriously? i know it's all part of the games you like to play, but i wonder if you will publish these three simple facts about that woman

1. she came into that 'job' on the 10th September 2001 from the HOME OFFICE
2. surely if not before since ACCEPTING that kinighthood from that govt her position has become entirely untenable and has done for years...
3. she only ever at best gives lip service to issues involved (that's why she got he knighthood?) and at worse needlessly provokes/ inflames situations...bringing the pig metaphor (what was wrong with the original cake?) into it for one example...

why is it none of the so called HR organisations even acknowledge abuses conducted in or by the British/ US? it doesn't take more than two brain cells to work out...

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