Recent years have seen increasing effort on the part of courts to distinguish between civil and criminal contempts. This effort has been engendered by an awareness of the different procedural and substantive aspects of the two classifications. A discussion of these aspects, as well as of the tests used to distinguish civil and criminal contempts, is beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice it to say that those tests which have been applied leave much to be desired. The lack of clarity, so evident in prevailing tests, is in part a legacy from early decisions which permitted the two types of contempt to be intermingled without distinction and in part the result of inherent difficulties. Punishment for criminal contempt may incidentally have a remedial purpose; conversely, the use of civil contempt may have both the remedial purpose and the result of vindicating the court's authority. Even courts that desire to accomplish a separation may therefore find great difficulty in keeping the two types of contempt entirely distinct.
Edward W. Rothe S.Ed.,
THE INTENT ELEMENT IN CONTEMPT OF INJUNCTIONS, DECREES AND COURT ORDERS,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol48/iss6/14