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Every situation is different so by far the best way to find out how to respond to a social media legal issue is to speak to those who are most likely to have dealt with a situation similar to yours.
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TheInternet LawCentre

Internet crime legal representation

Arrested for internet or social media crime

Being arrested by the police for an internet or social media crime is likely to be a turbulent period of time for most normal people. It is our job to help our clients successfully navigate their way through the legal, technological and often the emotional paths, following an arrest by the police for internet related criminal offences.

Legal representation following an arrest for malicious communication crime

Legal representation following an arrest for an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988

Legal representation following an arrest for Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003

Legal representation for computer or internet crime

Legal representation following an arrest for malicious communication crime

Often, when the police arrest a suspect for social media related crimes, there will be little time to prepare or to find a solicitor who has sufficient expertise in internet law. If you, or someone you know, has been arrested for a crime which involves communication on the internet or through a mobile phone, it is most likely that the police investigation will be centred upon malicious communications and harassment offences.

Most criminal defence accredited lawyers have expertise in general criminal law, whilst all our criminal defence lawyers, who are accredited to represent detainees at the police station, are experts in internet and social media law and have experience of at least 22 years in successfully representing clients at the police station.

Following the arrest, with the dedicated support of our expert internet lawyers, we would hope that the matter will result in no further action being taking by the police, but in the unlikely event that the case proceeds to court, we provide assistance, support and excellent legal representation throughout the legal proceedings. Our aim is to bring you a not guilty verdict.

Legal representation following an arrest for an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988

Malicious communication may occur when an individual sends a letter, electronic communication or article of any description to another person which includes a message that is indecent or grossly offensive, a threat of any kind (or a suggested threat) or information that the sender knows is false.

The individual might be guilty of an offence under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, if the the purpose of sending the message was to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient. The intention of the sender is important and often it is during the questioning by the police that the sender reveals his or her true intentions. This is why securing safe legal representation at the police station is so crucial for the success of the case.

Legal representation following an arrest for Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003

An offence under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 might occur where a person sends (or intends to send) any public electronic communications network, a message or other content that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character and they intend to cause another person annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

Legal representation for computer or internet crime

If you have been arrested or charged with a criminal offence involving allegations of computer or internet crime, our expert internet law solicitors are perfectly placed to assist and support you.

As the first law firm in the UK to practice internet law, our lawyers are highly knowledgeable and experienced in assisting clients on cases involving the back-end of the internet, technology computer and internet crime, hacking, unlawful access and theft through computers, maliciously creating and spreading viruses identity theft and impersonation.

If you are arrested or have been taken to court for computer crime you should have a solicitor who knows computers inside-out and who fully understand how technology works, in many cases, with higher degree of knowledge than your investigating police officers or the prosecuting lawyers.

Social media legal advice for parents

Social media legal advice for parents

What to do when you child requires legal advice in connection to the use of social media

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Read more: Social media legal advice for parents

Legal representation internet and criminal law

Legal representation internet and criminal law

Legal representation at the police station for internet and social media crimes

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Read more: Legal representation internet and criminal law

Breach of privacy

Breach of privacy

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Harassment by the media

Harassment by the media

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Contempt of court

Contempt of court solicitor

A breach of a court injunction may lead to civil proceedings for contempt of court

Sometimes online harassers or those who are intending to publish harmful information may not be deterred until they face a real prosect of imprisonment. You may be able to bring this prospect closer by apply for an injunction as a breach of the injunction could lead to legal proceedings for contempt of court and to imprisonment.

What is the difference between civil contempt of court and criminal contempt of court

What are the laws that govern contempt of court

What is the purpose of contempt of court proceedings

Breach of injunctions and Contempt of court

What is the standard of proof in contempt of court proceedings

Can a company be held in contempt of court for breaching an injunction

What is a penal notice in an injunction

Can you be held in contempt of court even if you are not named in the injunction

What is a penal notice in an injunction

Can you be held in contempt of court even if you are not named in the injunction

What are the penalties for contempt of court for breach of an Injunction

What is contempt in the face of the court

Is contempt of court a criminal offence

 

What is the difference between civil contempt of court and criminal contempt of court

Civil proceedings for contempt of court would often relate to a breach of a court order, such as an injunction. An example would be a breach of an injunction to refrain from publishing defamatory or harassing posts or an order to remove defamation from the internet or harassing material. Criminal proceedings, on the other hand, would often relate to inference with legal proceedings.

An example of circumstances that might give rise to criminal contempt proceedings would be an unlawful publication that intend to interfere with a criminal trial. Both civil contempt of court and criminal contempt of court may be carried out by the press or by members of the public.

What are the laws that govern contempt of court

Courts have an inherent jurisdiction to protect their own processes and punish behaviour that interferes with these processes. Over the years Parliament has created laws that are aimed to bring more certainty to this area of law.

There are two main laws that govern proceedings for contempt of court. The first is statutory contempt, which is governed by the Contempt of Court Act 1981. The second is common law contempt, which is also referred to in Section 6(c) of Contempt of Court Act 1981.

What is the purpose of contempt of court proceedings

The purpose of the law of contempt of court is to protect the integrity of legal proceedings, the administration of justice, and the rule of law, which is vital to the protection of the rights of every citizen. Contempt of court exist to ensure that court orders that are intended to protect individuals from harassment, from breach of their privacy and from other wrongdoing are being complied with in a meaningful way.

Breach of injunctions and Contempt of court

An injunction is a court order that is intended to secure or to prevent certain activities by the individual against it is granted. For example, when someone is being harassed online, the victim of the harassment can seek an injunction which will state the types of activities that the harasser can no longer undertake. If the harasser takes steps to breach the injunction, they can be arrested and then face civil legal proceedings for contempt of court.

Another example would be when there is an injunction in place preventing the publication of intimate or private images on the internet and where the injunction is being breached. The publisher may then face civil contempt of court proceedings. Contempt of court proceedings for breach of an injunction could be taken against anyone who is aware of the existence of the injunction and not only against the individual who is named in the injunction.

This may include social media companies who are aware of the existence of an injunction but who nevertheless allow their platform to be used to breach the injunction. You don't have to actively breach of an injunction in order to be held in contempt of court. It is enough to permit the breach of an injunction whilst being aware of its existence for the person or organisation breaching it to be held liable for contempt of court.

What is the standard of proof in contempt of court proceedings

Section two of the 1981 Act creates a strict liability regime that applies to media publications, creating a substantial risk of serious prejudice to an ongoing court case, irrespective of whether there was any intent to do so.

However, despite the fact that contempt of the court proceedings for breach of an injunction are taking place in a civil court, the court will apply the criminal standard of proof which is beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no requirement to prove an intention to breach the injunction. It is only necessary to prove that the person breaching the injunction firstly had knowledge of the existence of the injunction and secondly, had acknowledged that they were doing or admitting to do certain things.

Can a company be held in contempt of court for breaching an injunction

Yes. In those circumstances, it will be possible to bring the contempt proceedings against a director or officer of the company, but it will be necessary to show that the director or officer knew of the court order and was responsible for the company's breach.

What is a penal notice in an injunction

A penal notice in an injunction is a warning that is included in most injunction which warns anyone who is aware of the existence of the injunction of the possibility of being held in contempt of court should they breach or facilitate a breach of the injunction.

Not every breach of an injunction will result in contempt of court proceedings and as to whether such a breach constitutes contempt, will be considered on a case-by case basis based on the facts of each case. The court will take into consideration the seriousness of the breach, and whether the individual who breached the injunction did so deliberately and with the intention to disobey the court.

Can you be held in contempt of court even if you are not named in the injunction

Yes. You might be held in contempt of court even if you are not named in the injunction. You do not need to be named in an injunction in order to be held in contempt of court for breaching it. If you are not named in an injunction, but are aware of its existence and you nevertheless take steps which may undermine or destroy in whole or in part the subject-matter of the injunction, you may still be held in contempt of court.

What are the penalties for contempt of court for breach of an Injunction

A court could impose a maximum sentence of 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to £2,500 if the judge finds that you have breached an injunction in contempt of court. If you are send to prison for contempt of court, you will only serve half of your prison sentence. There courts can held the individual who is facing contempt of court proceedings in custody pending determination of their sentence.

However, in most cases, the High Court do not have power to detain the person facing contempt of court proceedings in custody pending consideration of a sentence so whilst a sentence is being determined, the individual who is facing contempt of court proceedings may be permitted to leave court pending sentencing. The court has to justify the sentencing for contempt of court on the basis that the court’s disapproval of the breach of an injunction or in order to secure future compliance with it.

What is contempt in the face of the court

Contempt in the face of the court involves misconduct during the course of legal proceedings, normally criminal proceedings either within the court or somehow directly connected with what is taking place in court.

Is contempt of court a criminal offence

No. Contempt of court is not a criminal offence. It is rather a civil wrongdoing even though being found guilty of contempt of court could result in a prison sentence. Civil proceedings for contempt of court may be initiated by the individual affected by the breach of an injunction. The police or the Crown Prosecution Service have no power to institute proceedings for contempt.

 

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