The challenges presented by social media and the “citizen journalist” to laws pre-dating the internet age have forced the Commission to bring forward a consultation on contempt of court. The consultation focuses on four specific areas of contempt: contempt by publication; the new media; contempts committed by jurors; and contempt in the face of the court. The consultation also explores compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Recent high-profile contempt of court cases include: a juror who was found to have researched the defendant on the internet; and the first internet contempt by publication, which concerned the posting of an incriminating photograph of a defendant on a website.

The consultation closes on 28 February and can be completed online.