The Summary Jurisdiction to Punish for Contempt of Court in Scotland

Sheriff T Welsh QC

in Essays in Criminal Law in Honour of Sir Gerald Gordon

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780748640706
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651450 | DOI:
The Summary Jurisdiction to Punish for Contempt of Court in Scotland

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This chapter discusses the summary jurisdiction of the court to punish for contempt of court in Scotland. It addresses four areas. First, it says something about the nature of the power and the history of the jurisdiction. Second, it briefly examines how this power and jurisdiction appears from the perspective of a lawyer studying our legal system from outwith the common law world, specifically from a European or civilian point of view. Third, it goes on to consider the recent significant judicial review of the common law power by the European Court of Human Rights which occurred in the case of Kyprianou v Cyprus, where the court, at first instance, was comprised largely of judges from the civilian tradition. Finally, it considers how the summary jurisdiction has adapted here in Scotland to scrutiny from outside, and poses the question of whether the power and jurisdiction can survive future scrutiny from outwith our system, especially from the European Court of Human Rights. It makes some reference to how other legal systems have dealt with the summary jurisdiction to punish for in facie contempt.

Keywords: summary jurisdiction; contempt of court; Scots law; common law; judicial review; European Court of Human Rights

Chapter.  6819 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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