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Contempt of Court Act 1981

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4 Contemporary reports of proceedings.U.K.

(1)Subject to this section a person is not guilty of contempt of court under the strict liability rule in respect of a fair and accurate report of legal proceedings held in public, published contemporaneously and in good faith.

(2)In any such proceedings the court may, where it appears to be necessary for avoiding a substantial risk of prejudice to the administration of justice in those proceedings, or in any other proceedings pending or imminent, order that the publication of any report of the proceedings, or any part of the proceedings, be postponed for such period as the court thinks necessary for that purpose.

[F1(2A) Where in proceedings for any offence which is an administration of justice offence for the purposes of section 54 of the M1 Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 (acquittal tainted by an administration of justice offence) it appears to the court that there is a possibility that (by virtue of that section) proceedings may be taken against a person for an offence of which he has been acquitted, subsection (2) of this section shall apply as if those proceedings were pending or imminent. ]

(3)For the purposes of subsection (1) of this section F2. . . a report of proceedings shall be treated as published contemporaneously—

(a)in the case of a report of which publication is postponed pursuant to an order under subsection (2) of this section, if published as soon as practicable after that order expires;

[F3(b) in the case of a report of allocation or sending proceedings of which publication is permitted by virtue only of subsection (6) of section 52A of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (“ the 1998 Act ”), if published as soon as practicable after publication is so permitted;

(c)in the case of a report of an application of which publication is permitted by virtue only of sub-paragraph (5) or (7) of paragraph 3 of Schedule 3 to the 1998 Act, if published as soon as practicable after publication is so permitted.]

(4)F4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Textual Amendments

F1S. 4(2A) inserted (E.W.,N.I.) (4.7.1996 with effect as mentioned in s. 54(4)(7)(8) of the amending Act) by 1996 c. 25, ss. 54(4)(7)(8), 57(3) (with s. 78(1)); S.I. 1997/1504

F2Words in s. 4(3) repealed (4.9.1996 so far as consequential on ss. 1, 5, 6, 12, 13, 16 of the repealing Act and 1.4.1999 so far as consequential on ss. 14, 15, 17, Sch. 1 of the repealing Act and 28.2.2000 (E.W.) so far as not already in force and 31.3.2001 (S.) so far as not already in force and 6.1.2010 (N.I.) so far as not already in force) by 1996 c. 31, s. 16 {Sch. 2} (with s. 20(2)); S.I. 1999/817, art. 2(b); S.I. 2000/222, art. 3(b); S.S.I. 2001/98, art. 3(a)(b)(i); S.I. 2009/2858, art. 3(d)

F3S. 4(3)(b)(c) substituted for s. 4(3)(b) (18.6.2012) by Criminal Justice Act 2003 (c. 44), s. 336(3)(4), Sch. 3 para. 53; S.I. 2012/1320, art. 3(d)(iv) (with art. 6(2))

F4S. 4(4) repealed (22.7.2004) by Statute Law (Repeals) Act 2004 (c. 14), Sch. 1 Pt. 1 Group 4

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