The Law Commission has launched a consultation on the law relating to contempt of court, in a bid to modernise the law for the digital age.
The Commission identified the law relating to contempt of court following a proposal from the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee, a body responsible for modernising court procedures and practice.
Contempt of court is an enormous area of law, concerned with actions that undermine the course of justice and the legal procedures that are used to deal with them. Examples of contempt of court include disobeying a court order or lying to a court.
The need for a review of the contempt of court laws has been highlighted by a number of recent cases cited by the Law Commission; these include cases in which jurors have been found to have researched the accused on the internet, cases in which incriminating photographs of a defendant have been posted online, and cases in which a wrongly accused individual has then been vilified in the press prior to their guilt being established.
In January a juror, Theodora Dallas, researched an accused in an assault case, discovering that they had previously been accused of rape. She then told her fellow jurors, clearly in contempt of court. She was jailed for six months for contempt of court.
The Law Commission's consultation will focus on four areas including contempt by publication, new media, contempt committed by jurors and contempt in the face of court.
The consultation will consider whether the law and procedures that exist at present are sufficient for dealing with the sorts of contempt of court actions that take place today and will take place in future.
Professor Ormerod is the law commissioner leading the project.
"The purpose of our consultation is to ask how, in a modern, internet-connected society, the law of contempt can continue to support the principles that criminal cases should be tried only on the evidence heard in court," he said.
The consultation will run until 28 February 2013.
Contempt laws reviewed for internet age (BBC News)
Contempt of Court (The Law Commission)