“Scandalising the court” is a rare and controversial branch of the law of contempt. It allows judges to punish those who make general criticisms of the legal system or judges, regardless of whether any particular case is affected, or even mentioned. A Hong Kong newspaper, the Oriental Daily News, was prosecuted in 1998 for this offence. The newspaper was heavily fined and its editor was jailed. This paper explores the background to the case and examines its implications for the media in Hong Kong and other Common Law territories.
Recommended CitationHamlett, T., Scandalising the scumbags: The Secretary for Justice vs the Oriental Press Group, Asia Pacific Media Educator, 11, 2001, 20-38.