Contempt by publication under the Contempt of Court Act 1981: is the legislation still valid in the modern digital age?

Rose, Amanda (2012) Contempt by publication under the Contempt of Court Act 1981: is the legislation still valid in the modern digital age? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    This study was designed to investigate the relationship between contempt by publication law, under section two of the Contempt of Court Act 1981, and the internet. As a law that was passed more than three decades ago, this paper explores whether the existing legislation can remain effective in the age of online publishing.

    Through the discussion of case law, literature and judge’s rulings, and a content analysis of a number of relevant cases, this study examines whether contempt by publication law is still valid with the existence of online media platforms. Online news archives, social media, web forums and comment boards have been reviewed and analysed to determine the suitability of existing legislation. The challenges facing the courts in directing jurors are also discussed to highlight the mounting risk of prejudice to fair trials.

    This study has discovered that due to internet archives, social media and other forms of instant communication, to some extent contempt by publication law requires amendment. The level of information readily available online that could be accessed by jurors and witnesses throughout a criminal case jeopardises the validity of contempt law. Therefore it is necessary to consider a revision of the legislation to accommodate for the evolving nature of the internet.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2012 14:59
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:04
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/8544

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