11.8.1 The court has power to punish contempt
of court by an order of committal to prison or by
other means. These may be by ordering the payment of a
fine, by the issue of a writ of sequestration, or by
making a hospital or guardianship order under certain
provisions of the Mental Health Act 1983. Committal
applications under RSC O.52 r.4 are always dealt with by
a High Court Judge. The following provisions apply to
applications made under RSC O.52 r.4.
11.8.2 The application should be made in existing
proceedings by filing an application notice. If not in
existing proceedings, a Part 8 Claim Form should be
issued (see paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 of the Practice
Direction - Committal Applications). Evidence in support
of a committal application must be by affidavit and,
together with the Part 8 Claim Form or application
notice, must be served personally on the person sought to
be committed. A date for the hearing must be obtained
from the Listing Office, Room WG5 and endorsed on or
served with the Claim Form or application notice.
11.8.3 Paragraphs 2.5, 2.6 and 3.1 to 3.4 of the
Practice Direction deal with the content of the evidence,
and serving and filing, and paragraph 4 deals with the
hearing date and management of the proceedings.
11.8.4 Committal proceedings will normally be heard in
public, but see RSC O.52 r.6 which sets out certain types
of cases which may be heard in private, and see paragraph
9 of the Practice Direction.
11.8.5 Where the court makes a finding of contempt,
details of the contempt and of the order or undertaking
breached (where appropriate) must be set out in the
order. The term of any period of committal must be stated
in the order and must not exceed two years. A fine must
be expressed as payable to Her Majesty the Queen and the
order must state the amount of the fine and the date and
time within which it must be paid. A contemnor and his
solicitors will be notified separately as to how the fine
should be paid. A precedent of the order is in form No.
85 and will normally be drawn by the court.
11.8.6 When an order for committal to prison is made,
the court will issue a warrant to the Tipstaff
authorising him to convey the contemnor to the
appropriate prison. A copy of the order should be served
on the prison governor. RSC O.52 r.8 deals with the
discharge of a person committed.