§ Mr. Kilroy-Silk
asked the Attorney-General if he will make a statement on the operation of section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and orders made under it banning court reports.
The way in which section 4(2) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 is applied is a matter for the courts, and authoritative guidance has been given by the Court of Appeal inR v Horsham Justices, ex parte Farquharson, reported at  2 W.L.R. 430. In that case the court quashed a blanket order which had been made by the justices under section 4(2) and emphasised, among other things, the importance of open justice and freedom of the press and that the subsection was to be strictly confined. (See pages 451 and 455–6 of the report).
§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Attorney-General how many trials he is aware of which have been subject to total bans on press reporting in the current year.
§ The Attorney-General
I am making inquiries of the Director of Public Prosecutions and shall write to the hon. Member as soon as possible.