What is the maximum sentence for contempt of court in South Africa?

Asked by: Aimee McKenzie  |  Last update: August 18, 2022
Score: 4.7/5 (63 votes)

An offence of contempt of court in the Magistrates Court is punishable by a maximum penalty of a fine of $8,000 or imprisonment for two years.

Can you go to jail for contempt of court in South Africa?

This is due to the issue that arises when non-compliance with a civil order of the court is a form of contempt and is punishable as a crime and can result in imprisonment.

Is contempt of court a crime in South Africa?

Due to the fact that contempt of court is a criminal offence, the onus rests upon the party seeking the order of contempt to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the offender's non-compliance with the court order was a deliberate and intentional attempt to disrespect and impair the dignity of a Court of law.

How long is a sentence for contempt of court?

A criminal contempt action is punishable by: custody in county jail (not state prison) for up to six months, and/or. a maximum fine of $1,000.

What happens when you ignore a court order in South Africa?

Section 31(1) states that any person who fails to make any particular payment in accordance with a maintenance order shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three years, or to such imprisonment without the option of a fine.

Jacob Zuma gets 15 month jail sentence for contempt of court

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Is contempt of court a criminal offence?

The interesting thing about contempt of court is the many ways in which it can be committed. It can be civil or criminal in nature. This means that conduct that is not itself a criminal offence can still be punishable by the court. Criminal contempt goes beyond simple non-compliance with a court order.

What happens if someone breaches a court order?

The courts have been given the power to find an individual who is breaching their order to be in contempt of court for failing to comply with the terms of its order. Contempt of court includes interfering with the administration of justice and carries the following sanctions: Imprisonment. Fines.

What are the two types of contempt of court?

There are two types of contempt of court: criminal contempt of court and civil contempt. Civil contempt often involves the failure of someone to comply with a court order. Judges use civil contempt sanctions to coerce such a person into complying with a court order the person has violated.

Does contempt of court go on your record?

Contempt and Criminal Records

As a general rule, contempt in court charges do not appear on criminal records. This would certainly apply to a minor violation, such as a traffic charge.

What amounts to contempt of court?

Civil contempt, defined in Section 2(b) of the Contempt of Courts Act, is "wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court".

How does contempt of court work in South Africa?

The two main categories of contempt of court

Criminal contempt is when a person behaves in a manner that disgraces the court's authority, and civil contempt is when someone acts in a disobedient manner towards the court. In both instances of contempt of court can be punished as a crime.

Can someone be sentenced without a trial in South Africa?

In our law no one may be detained without trial. If an accused is arrested he or she is normally kept in prison or the police cells till the trial is finalised to ensure the presence of the accused at court.

What are the remedies for contempt of court?

(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act or in any other law, a contempt of court may be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both: -(1) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act or in any other law, ...

What is the difference between criminal contempt and civil contempt?

The purpose of civil contempt is to coerce the defendant to do the thing required by the order for the benefit of the complainant. The primary purposes of criminal contempt are to preserve the court's authority and to punish for disobedience of its orders.

Is breaching a court order a criminal offence?

Although it doesn't happen very often, as judges prefer to find another way to deal with matters where possible, family judges can and do send people to prison for breaching their orders – this is not a criminal conviction, but all civil (non-criminal) courts have a power to enforce their orders by committing the ...

Is shouting in court contempt?

Contempt of court includes: disobeying or ignoring a court order. taking photos or shouting out in court.

Does contempt of court need trial?

Undoubtedly, criminal contempt is a distinct offence from civil contempt. The minority judgment says as much. The locus classicus on criminal contempt is S v Mamabolo where the court held that a court cannot convict and sentence a contemnor for criminal contempt of court without a criminal trial.

Who can initiate contempt of court?

Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.

What does it mean when a judge holds you in contempt?

Contempt of court, also referred to simply as "contempt," is the disobedience of an order of a court. It is also conduct tending to obstruct or interfere with the orderly administration of justice.

Why is contempt of court a crime?

Contempt of court is a legal violation committed by an individual who disobeys a judge or otherwise disrupts the legal process in the courtroom. Contempt of court is broadly classified into two categories: criminal versus civil, and direct versus indirect.

What happens when you are in indirect contempt of court?

Indirect Contempt of Court

In failing to obey a legal order, you have broken the law, and can be jailed until you return to compliance. Many cases of indirect contempt arise from violations of restraining orders.

What happens if you ignore a court order to pay?

An individual will be in contempt of court if they interfere with the administration of justice. Deliberately breaching a court order may be in contempt of court. Sanctions for contempt of court include: Imprisonment.

Can Family Court send you to jail?

But very occasionally, family courts also impose prison sentences. How can this be? In fact, prison is the ultimate penalty possible in cases of contempt of court, where a person is in violation of a court order.

At what age can a child refuse to see a parent?

Legally, Your Child Can Refuse Visitation at Age 18

When your child reaches 18, he or she is an adult. Adults can decide who they spend time with. You will not be able to force your child to continue to see you. A family law court will no longer be able to enforce any possession or visitation clauses over an adult.

What happens if you don't turn up to court as a victim?

If you fail to attend the court after a witness summons has been issued, a warrant for your arrest would then be granted. Also, making an excuse that you are ill for example is not good enough. You would have to produce a doctor's medical certificate that states that you are not in a fit state to attend the court.