Court mandarins imprisoned?
Relieved faces at HM Courts & Tribunals Service this week.
The House of Commons justice committee has decided against what it called ‘further action’ over the service’s attempt to stop officials feeding the committee’s inquiry into the courtroom interpreter fiasco. However, the committee’s report says ‘the actions of the ministry… may have constituted a contempt of the house’ and reveals that it gave ‘serious consideration’ to action.
Could HMCTS’s long-suffering bureaucrats really have been banged up under Big Ben? According to Kieron Wood’s 2012 book Contempt of Parliament, the last time the House of Commons imprisoned a non-member was in 1888, when Charles Grissell was jailed for boasting he could control a committee’s decision. However the House still retains the power to imprison non-members – though only for the length of the parliamentary session.
Mind you, given the state of morale in the Ministry of Justice, a few weeks in the custody of the serjeant-at-arms might make a pleasant break.