Contempt of Court is a niche practice area which sits at the intersection of criminal and civil law and arises when somebody is accused of breaching a Court Order or otherwise interfering in the course of justice, for example, signing a false statement of truth or giving evidence under oath that turns out to be false. It is a serious matter - those who are convicted can be sentenced to up to two years in prison – and it is therefore important to take legal advice quickly.
Over the last few years, our civil team have built up considerable experience representing both those accused of contempt and those wishing to pursue contempt proceedings at both the High Court and Court of Appeal, and have acted in the most high-profile cases including:
- Aviareps PLC v Parivash Kiani – representing a Defendant who was being pursued by her former employer for allegedly fabricating evidence in a personal injury claim. The skilled mitigation we put forward for the Defendant prevented an immediate custodial sentence;
- Business Mortgage Finance 4 Plc & Ors v Hussain  EWHC 449 (Ch) – Acting for a banker who was subject to a bench warrant for his non-attendance at a contempt trial. We managed to obtain authority from the Court to instruct a Queen’s Counsel under our legal aid representation order;
- Solicitors Regulation Authority Ltd v Khan & Ors (Rev1)  EWHC 45 (Ch) and on appeal  EWCA Civ 287 – acting for a prominent solicitor who was being pursued by her regulator for contempt of court. We arranged for her bench warrant to be discharged, and prevented the Court from summarily striking her off as a solicitor. We then managed to obtain funding for Queen’s Counsel to represent her on appeal;
- Walsh v Decca Capital Ltd & Anor  EWHC 3475 (Ch) – acting for the Claimant in a successful application for permission to bring contempt proceedings on the basis that the petitioner in Company/Insolvency Proceedings had intentionally included a false statement in his pleadings and evidence. Successfully argued that there was a prima-facie case of contempt and it was in the public interest for permission to be given;
- Atkinson & Glyn Mummery & Anor v Varma & Ors  EWHC 1868 (Ch) – acted for the Defendant who was being pursued for contempt on the basis that he had breached an injunction and given false evidence. Were successful in resisting a number of the grounds of contempt and also successful in obtaining permission to appeal against liability;
- Andreewitch v Moutreuil  EWCA Civ 382, Moutreuil v Andreewitch (Contempt: No.2)  EWHC 1301 (Fam) and Moutreuil v Andreewitch (Contempt: Sentence) (Rev 1)  EWHC 3085 (Fam) – we successfully represented the Appellant in a leading case at the Court of Appeal which confirmed that in order to avoid procedural unfairness, an alleged contemnor must be warned of their right to silence.
In our experience, representation in contempt proceedings requires strategic thinking about how the matter interplays with the substantive dispute, swift and timely advice, and careful consideration and adherence to the strict procedural requirements in order to ensure the best possible outcome and to allow for any possible mitigation. We have these points firmly in our mind throughout all our contempt matters.
If you are a Defendant, we can normally arrange for legal aid to be granted within twenty-four hours – we will then work alongside some of the country’s leading barristers (also working under legal aid) in order to ensure your position is protected as much as possible.
When Contempt Proceedings arise out of existing court proceedings, we can step in and work alongside your existing solicitors so as to avoid any conflicts and to ensure that quasi-independence is maintained at all times. Furthermore, whilst we would recommend seeking specific advice as soon as possible, we can also arrange for urgent representation, even pursuant to a legal aid order if appropriate.
Contact our Expert Contempt of Court/Committal Applications Lawyers London
Janes Solicitors provides bespoke specialist advice on contempt of court. With extensive experience in all areas of contempt of court and a well-earned reputation as leaders in our field, our expert defence team take a proactive and pragmatic approach to legal advice and case strategy. We are committed to your successful outcome. Janes Solicitors pride ourselves on our case tailored approach for each client and our fearless commitment in each and every case we undertake.
If you or your business have concerns, are under suspicion or investigation or have been arrested or prosecuted for any serious fraud or financial crime offence, contact us today on 020 7930 5100. Alternatively you can contact us via our online contact form, and one of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.