Contempt of Court

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Contempt of court is applicable to all superior and inferior courts, and to other bodies exercising the judicial power of the state, including (for example) Mental Health Tribunals. It is intended to prevent and punish anything tending to interfere with the proper administration of justice. In general, the public should know what goes on in court and should be able to comment on it: it is in the interests of criminal defendants particularly that their trials should be open to public scrutiny. But this openness must be balanced against the need for personal privacy in certain cases (e.g. rape victims and children), commercial confidentiality and national security, and prevention of interference with justice (e.g. by influencing the jury or prejudicing a party's position in advance of the trial).