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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).

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wilful disregard of or disrespect for the authority of a court of law or legislative body
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Thomas claimed that the defendant knew or ought to have known that the offensive statement was contemptuous to the judge and would undermine the administration of justice and public confidence in the judicial system in Malaysia.
He said contemnors' act of issuing the contemptuous notice during operation of the Nov 20 order, while relying upon purported inquiry of the respondent, amounted to wilful contAempt of the court's order.
On April 9, Former senator Faisal Raza Abidi had recorded his statement in a case related to contemptuous remarks against the top court.
The alleged contemptuous conduct of the AGP's was witnessed during the announcement of an interim court order which suspended the notification of a joint investigation team (JIT), formed by the government, for a fresh probe into the 2014 Model Town incident.
LAHORE -- The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday resumed hearing of a show-cause notice issued to Advocate General of Punjab Ahmad Awais, under the Contempt of Court Ordinance 2002 for his contemptuous conduct he showed during the announcement of an interim order about the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) formed by the provincial government to conduct reinvestigation into 2014 Model Town Tragedy.
Justice Ijazul Ahsan said that the letters written to the parents were contemptuous. 'What type of things did you write?' Justice Ahmed asked.
The applicant is also seeking the directive of the court for the respondents to bear the cost of the application following their contemptuous conduct.
The bench of the top court took up the case pertaining to contemptuous remarks by Aamir Liaquat Hussain during his TV program against the court.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed heard a suo moto contempt proceeding against former State Minister Talal Chaudhry regarding his derogatory and contemptuous speeches and statements at public gatherings, which were telecast by different TV channels.
The bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed resumed the hearing of the case against Talal Chaudhry on making derogatory and contemptuous speeches/statements', directing the authorities to draw out the option of presenting witnesses.
ISLAMABAD -- MQMP leader Farooq Sattar has demanded of Chief Minister (CM) Sindh Murad Ali Shah to tender apology within 48 hours on delivering what he described contemptuous, insulting and biased speech in Sindh Assembly (SA) otherwise a large protest demonstration will be staged on May 26 in Liaqat Abad.
The call for resignation was triggered by Cam's alleged 'contemptuous and threatening' remarks against Rep.