Bribery, contempt of court and perjury

Bribery, contempt of court and perjury

Some offences are considered to be crimes against ‘justice’ itself. Justice includes the courts, the legal system and the police. They include:

  • bribery
  • contempt of court
  • making false statements
  • perjury.

These offences are taken very seriously by the courts and carry heavy penalties, including imprisonment. Get legal advice.


In relation to crimes against justice, bribery is offering a public official (such as a police officer) money or other favours to get them to act in your interests.

Bribery of a public official carries a penalty of up to 10 years jail.

Contempt of court

A magistrate can hold you in contempt of court if they think you’re ignoring or challenging the court’s authority or a direction of a court. For example:

  • interrupting a court hearing
  • refusing to come to court or to answer questions if you are called as a witness.

Penalties for contempt vary depending on the circumstances but can include fines and/or jail.

False statements

The law requires you to tell the truth when you are:

If you don’t tell the truth in these situations, you may be committing an offence. The offences you could be charged with include:

  • perjury (deliberately giving false evidence in a court or tribunal)
  • making a false statement
  • making a false report to police.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with criminal offences.

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