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Related to contempt of court: civil contempt


in law, interference with the functioning of a legislature or court. In its narrow and more usual sense, contempt refers to the despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of a court. A contempt of court can be classified as civil or criminal, direct or constructive. Civil and criminal contempts are distinguished by the function of the punishment—if it is to vindicate judicial authority, the contempt is criminal; if it is to enforce the rights and remedies of a party, the contempt is civil. A direct contempt is one committed in the presence of the court while it is in session. A constructive contempt is one that is committed at a distance from the court and that tends to obstruct or defeat the administration of justice. A refusal to answer a question when directed to answer by a judge is a direct criminal contempt. Disobeying an injunctioninjunction,
in law, order of a court directing a party to perform a certain act or to refrain from an act or acts. The injunction, which developed as the main remedy in equity, is used especially where money damages would not satisfy a plaintiff's claim, or to protect personal
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 or a court order that a judgment (e.g., alimonyalimony,
in law, allowance for support that an individual pays to his or her former spouse, usually as part of a divorce settlement. It is based on the common law right of a wife to be supported by her husband, but in the United States, the Supreme Court in 1979 removed its
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) be satisfied is a civil contempt. A major distinction is whether the court needs to hear evidence to determine if a contempt was committed. Direct criminal contempts may be punished summarily by fine or imprisonment; civil and constructive criminal contempts can also be punished by fine or imprisonment, but the accused must be granted a hearing. In the United States, Congress can punish for contempt of Congress behavior that occurs during legislative proceedings and that threatens its legislative power. Congress must act before it adjourns, and any imprisonment can last no longer than that session. State legislatures also have limited powers to punish for contempt.


See C. J. Miller, Contempt of Court (1989).


wilful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law or legislative body
References in periodicals archive ?
Section 58(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 provides that the Industrial Court can punish stated forms of contempt of court.
Gillani did not follow the court's wishes and was charged with contempt of court earlier this month.
Lawyers acting for the council yesterday applied to the High Court for permission to bring contempt of court proceedings against Mr Wells.
That is contempt of court and you will serve a further 28 days in jail.
The High Court in London ruled that Quinn was in contempt of court and sentenced him to 12 months' imprisonment, conditionally suspended for two years.
Another aspect of media freedom and contempt of court is canvassed in Part IV: whether journalists should enjoy a privilege not to reveal their sources of information.
Therefore, the court has issued contempt of court notice to him.
The power vested in the High Courts, as well as this Court, to punish for contempt is a special and rare power available both under the Constitution as well as the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.
The court had issued contempt of court notice to federal minister for petroleum on January, 22.
Sheriff Michael Fletcher said: "It is not a contempt of court.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other opposition parties should have moved amendments in the contempt of court law in case they had any reservations, he said.
Protester Ricky Canty, who is facing six months in prison for contempt of court, was today preparing to mark the sixth month of his demonstration on the roof of a Barry house.