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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 ?
The court indicted Tallal Chaudhry for his Sept 24 and 27, 2017 anti-judiciary rhetoric considered to be contemptuous and intended to bring the judiciary and judges into hatred.
He pleaded with the judge to pass orders to the electronic-media regulatory body to impose a ban on coverage of contemptuous speeches of the PML-N leaders.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar had taken a suo motu notice of the contemptuous statements given by the minister against the judiciary.
At the outset of the proceedings,Chaudhry submitted an application in court asking that the same restraint be shown in his case as shown in cases pertaining toRailways Minister Saad Rafique and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's alleged contemptuous speeches.
The petition argues that Nawaz Sharif has instigated people against judiciary by announcing a rebellion against it, therefore, the court should impose a ban on his contemptuous speeches and those of other PML-N leaders.
He said Pemra failed to implement its code of conduct against the airing of hate speeches and content which is defamatory or contemptuous.
The three ruling PML-n'S leadersincluding formersenator Nihal Hashmi, Federal Minister for Privatizations Daniyal Aziz and State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry had made contemptuous remarks against top judiciary.
The three ruling PML-N's leaders including former senator Nihal Hashmi, Federal Minister for Privatizations Daniyal Aziz and State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry had made contemptuous remarks against top judiciary.
Alalahanin natin yung ginagawa nila is contemptuous iyan, sapagkat iyan ay nakahain na para magtrial at pinangugunahan nila parang sinasabi nila na trumped charges,' the justice chief stressed.
Mr Field said: "These letters suggest the Carillion directors were contemptuous of their pensions obligations.
The court also fixed February 22, 2018, for the hearing of the casea, just as it described the action of the PDP as contemptuous adding that status quo must be maintained by parties in the matter.
This was after activist Okiya Omtatah filed a petition for the award to be declared invalid, null and void, arguing "it is laced with open fraud and contemptuous disregard for the rule of law".