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Report No. 93

III. English Statutory Provision of 1981

4.15. English Act of 1981.-

The position at common law has been summarised above. It should now be mentioned that in England, by a statutory provision enacted in 1981, sources of information contained in publications are protected to a limited extent. Section 10 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1981,1 reads as under:-

"10. No court may require a person to disclose, nor is any person guilty of contempt of court for refusing to disclose, the source of information contained in a publication for which he is responsible, unless it be established to the satisfaction of the court that disclosure is necessary in the interests of justice or national security or for the prevention of disorder or crime."

Section 2(1) of the same Act defines the expression "publication", as under:-

"2(1) "publication" includes any speech, writing, broadcast or other communication in whatever form, which is addressed to the public at large or any section of the public."

By section 19 of the same Act, "court" is defined as including any person or body exercising the judicial power of the State. It may be of interest to note that in the Contempt of Courts Bill, section 10 (quoted above) was not contained in the original Bill. Nor had any such provision been recommended by the Phillimore Committee which had reported (1974) on the law of Contempt of Court. The section came into the Bill at the Commons Committee stage.2

1. Section 10, read with section 2(1), Contempt of Courts Act, 1981, (C. 49).

2. Standing Committee A-7 sittings commencing 21 April 1981: Vol. 6, (See Annotation in Current Statutes).

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