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Feedback sought on Contempt of Court Bill

Friday, 10 August 2018

Feedback is currently being sought on a proposal to put the law relating to contempt of court on a statutory footing in the Isle of Man.

The Attorney General’s Chambers is seeking to modernise the legislation that deals with conduct that could interfere with the administration of justice.

The Contempt of Court Bill 2018 sets out measures aimed at protecting the rule of law, ensuring fair trials and protecting the confidentiality of a jury’s deliberations. It also proposes stiffer maximum penalties for offences.

A public consultation has been published today on the Government online hub, with a closing date for submissions of Friday 28 September.

People are encouraged to submit their views by emailing or by writing to Mrs Jayne Hubble at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Belgravia House, Circular Road, Douglas, IM1 1AE.

Responses will be considered before the Contempt of Court Bill 2018 is introduced into the branches of Tynwald.

The move to place the law on a statutory footing follows a comprehensive review into the Island’s contempt of court legislation.

The review was prompted after a criminal trial was abandoned when photographs were taken in court and published online showing jurors and officials involved in the case.

The Bill, which is broadly based on the UK Contempt of Court Act 1991, covers a range of issues, including the unauthorised use of recording equipment in court, the confidentiality of jury deliberations and rules regarding protection of sources, legal aid and appeals.

It also sets out the strict liability rule, which states that conduct may be treated as contempt of court regardless of intent to interfere with the course of justice.

Comments are invited on all aspects of the Bill, in particular the proposals in respect of the maximum level of fine or prison sentence that can be imposed.

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