Contempt of Court Act 1981

14Proceedings in England and Wales

(1)in any case where a court has power to commit a person to prison for contempt of court and (apart from this provision) no limitation applies to the period of committal, the committal shall (without prejudice to the power of the court to order his earlier discharge) be for a fixed term, and that term shall not on any occasion exceed two years in the case of committal by a superior court, or one month in the case of committal by an inferior court.

(2)In any case where an inferior court has power to fine a person for contempt of court and (apart from this provision) no limit applies to the amount of the fine, the fine shall not on any occasion exceed £500.

(3)In relation to the exercise of jurisdiction to commit for contempt of court or any kindred' offence, subsection (1) of section 19 of the Powers of Criminal Courts Act 1973 (prohibition of imprisonment of persons under seventeen years of age) shall apply to all courts having that jurisdiction as it applies to the Crown Court and magistrates' courts.

(4)Each of the superior courts shall have the like power to make a hospital order or guardianship order under section 60 of the Mental Health Act 1959 in the case of a person suffering from mental illness or severe subnormality who could otherwise be committed to prison for contempt of court as the Crown Court has under that section in the case of a person convicted of an offence.

(5)The enactments specified in Part III of Schedule 2 shall have effect subject to the amendments set out in that Part, being amendments relating to the penalties and procedure in respect of certain offences of contempt in coroners' courts, county courts and magistrates' courts.