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England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales Court of Appeal (Civil Division) Decisions >> Middlesbrough Borough Council v Turnbull  EWCA Civ 1327 (28 August 2003)
Cite as:  EWCA Civ 1327
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IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)
ON APPEAL FROM THE MIDDLESBROUGH COUNTY COURT
(HIS HONOUR JUDGE BRIGGS)
B e f o r e :
LORD JUSTICE PETER GIBSON
|MIDDLESBROUGH BOROUGH COUNCIL||Claimant/Respondent|
Smith Bernal Wordwave Limited
190 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2AG
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7831 8838
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
MR A PEMA (instructed by Head of Legal Services, Middlesbrough Borough Council, PO Box 99A, Town Hall, Middlesbrough TS1 2QQ) appeared on behalf of the Respondent
Crown Copyright ©
"Unless the court otherwise directs, the hearing date of a committal application shall be not less than 14 clear days after service of the claim form or of the application notice, as the case may be, on the respondent. The hearing date must be specified in the claim form or application notice or in a Notice of Hearing or Application attached to and served with the claim form or application notice."
"1. As committal orders involve the liberty of the subject it is particularly important that the relevant rules are duly complied with. It remains the responsibility of the judge when signing the committal order to ensure that it is properly drawn and that it adequately particularises the breaches which have been proved and for which the sentence has been imposed.
2. As long as the contemnor had a fair trial and the order has been made on valid grounds the existence of a defect either in the application to commit or in the committal order served will not result in the order being set aside except insofar as the interests of justice require this to be done.
3. Interests of justice will not require an order to be set aside where there is no prejudice caused as a result of errors in the application to commit or in the order to commit. When necessary the order can be amended.
4. When considering whether to set aside the order, the Court should have regard to the interests of any other party and the need to uphold the reputation of the justice system.
5. If there has been a procedural irregularity or some other defect in the conduct of the proceedings which has occasioned injustice, the court will not consider exercising its power to order a new trial unless there are circumstances which indicate that it would be unjust not to do so."
In my judgment had there been non-compliance with the requirements of the Practice Direction, then it would have been appropriate, in the light of Nicholls v Nicholls, to say that here there is no prejudice demonstrated, and there is therefore no reason to grant any form of relief in relation to that particular non-compliance.
"29. Fourthly, the length of the committal has to depend upon the court's objectives. There are two objectives always in contempt of court proceedings. One is to mark the court's disapproval of the disobedience to its order. The other is to secure compliance with that order in the future. Thus, the seriousness of what has taken place is to be viewed in that light as well as for its own intrinsic gravity.
30. Fifthly, the length of the committal has to bear some reasonable relationship to the maximum of 2 years which is available."
ORDER: Application for permission to appeal out of time granted in relation only to penalty, and the appeal allowed to the extent of reducing the penalty from 2 years to 9 months; detailed assessment of the Applicant's Community Legal Services Funding certificate.