Fine Gael TD Josepha Madigan has today presented her Contempt of Court Bill 2017 as a private member to Dáil Éireann. It will now proceed to debate over the coming months.
Deputy Madigan said: “Contempt of court is the means by which our justice system ensures the smooth running and operating of the courts.
“These powers prevent injustices from being done, protect the administration of justice and guarantee the right of every citizen to receive a fair and impartial hearing of their case.
“I am bringing this bill because the courts need new powers to deal with new problems.
“This is the first attempt to legislate for contempt despite Judges, legal experts and journalists all calling for legislation in this area for some time.
“The Supreme Court first called for changes in this law in the early 90s while legislation was first introduced in the UK in 1981.
“The aim of this legislation is to clarify the law surrounding contempt of court. It gives our courts system the powers it needs to adapt to changes in society and technology and to tackle a number of problems which arise in the justice system.
“This bill modernises the law of contempt in Ireland and introduces new powers which will allow our courts deal with ever changing technology.
“It ensures courts are not disrupted, orders are obeyed, juries are not interfered with and that they behave appropriately.
“It includes several important measures to ensure that the rights of those affected are upheld, particularly the right to freedom of speech.
“It ensures that Irish courts are some of the most modern in the world and are well equipped to deal with any problems which the future may throw at them.”