Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 93(II) - Contempt by publication

Project No. 93(II)

Commenced: 2000
Completed: 2003

Contempt is committed when a person publishes information that has a tendency to prejudice court proceedings. Often this will be information that would not be admissible as evidence in the proceedings. Therefore the law of contempt by publication sets up a tension between the integrity of trial processes and the availability to the public of information relating to those proceedings.

Terms of Reference

The term of reference in the Law Reform Commission of Western Australia's reference on the law of contempt was:

to inquire into and report upon the principles, practices and procedures relating to contempt by publication and whether the law pertaining thereto should be reformed and, if so, in what manner.


The law of contempt by publication contains a number of problems that call out for reform. However, any reform package needs to incorporate a careful balancing of a number of important interests including those in fair trials, the integrity of the administration of justice, the avoidance of trial by media, freedom of discussion and open justice.

The Commission made 22 recommendations in its Final Report.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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