High Court Imposes Suspended Imprisonment in Contempt of Court Case Over Sale of Wimbledon Tickets

Citation: [2023] EWHC 3325 (KB)
Judgment on


The case at hand, The All England Tennis Club (Championships) Limited & Anor v Broker 4 U Ltd & Anor [2023] EWHC 3325 (KB), pertains to a contempt of court finding against the Second Defendant involving the sale of non-transferrable Wimbledon tickets. This article provides a systematic analysis of the case law, elucidating upon the legal principles applied by HHJ Parfitt, as he sat as a judge of the High Court. The core focus is on sentencing for breaches of civil injunctions, culpability, harm caused, mitigating factors, and the resulting penalties.

Key Facts

In this judgment, the Second Defendant was found in contempt of court, having offered and exposed for sale non-transferable Wimbledon tickets in violation of an injunction dated 22 August 2016. This act disrupted not only the prospective ticket buyers but also indirectly affected other tennis fans and undermined the purposes of the injunction.

Sentencing for Breaches of Civil Injunctions

The court, as iterated in Lovett v Wigan Borough Council [2022] EWCA Civ 1631, considers several factors when sentencing for breaches of civil injunctions, namely ensuring future compliance, punishment, and rehabilitation.

Available Penalties and Sentencing Guidance

In reference to AG v Crosland [2021] UKSC 15, an individual found in contempt of court could face up to two years of imprisonment or an unlimited fine. When sentencing, a court should adopt an approach analogously to criminal cases, assessing seriousness through culpability and harm caused, and considering whether a fine would suffice. As outlined in Liverpool Victoria Insurance Co Ltd v Khan [2019] EWCA Civ 392, depth is given to mitigation considerations, with the court to deliberate on whether to suspend the term of imprisonment.

Culpability and Harm Assessment

The Second Defendant’s high degree of culpability and the medium degree of harm informed the sentencing. The bench considered previous cases such as Chelsea Football Club Ltd v Nichols [2020] EWHC 827 as a frame of reference for the penalty, albeit with adjustments based on the specificities of the present case.


The Second Defendant faced a sentencing process reflective of a high degree of culpability and medium harm due to a single transaction breach of the injunction. The judge, balancing the breach severity against mitigating factors, such as caring responsibilities and financial precarity, ordered a 13-week imprisonment, suspended for two years contingent upon no further breaches. This approach aligns with the principles expounded in Liverpool Victoria and AG v Crosland, ensuring consistency within the legal framework.


The All England Tennis Club (Championships) Limited & Anor v Broker 4 U Ltd & Anor exemplifies the High Court’s approach to sentencing in cases of civil contempt, particularly with respect to the sale of non-transferrable tickets. It reaffirms the judiciary’s stance on safeguarding the public interest and upholding court orders against contemptuous actions. Through invoking established case law and setting proportionate penalties, it underscores the judiciary’s dual focus on punishment and deterrence, while remaining considerate of individual circumstances. Notably, this case serves as a precedent, guiding future proceedings involving similar breaches of civil injunctions within the United Kingdom’s legal spectrum.