Source: All England Reporter
Publisher Citation: [2002] All ER (D) 13 (Mar)
Court: Chancery Division

Neuberger J

Representation Anthony Trace QC and Michael Green (instructed by Allen & Overy) for the claimant
  Stanley Brodie QC (instructed by Emmersons) for the defendant
Judgment Dates: 1 March 2002


Contempt of court - Committal - Breach of court orders - Period of custody - Contemnor sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for breach of court orders and undertakings - Severity of sentence intended to coerce contemnor into complying with orders - Application for order for release after contemnor serving 7 months of sentence - Whether sentence having coercive effect - Whether release should be ordered - s 14(1).

The Case

of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 gave the court the power to order an early discharge of a contemnor, notwithstanding an unconditional order for imprisonment. On the basis of established authority, a release before the penal element of the imprisonment had been served would only be ordered in exceptional circumstances. Furthermore, a court could effectively cut short a term of imprisonment, once the penal element had been served, if the desired result of the imprisonment could not be achieved.

Practice Areas

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