Civil contempt allows for indeterminate imprisonment

Listen | 23:52

Teacher Enoch Burke could get out of jail today if he chose to.

All he needs to do is say he will follow a court order to stay away from the school where he worked until being suspended

The suspension came after a dispute over Mr Burke’s refusal to call a trans student by their preferred pronouns.

In cases of civil contempt there is no clear mechanism for bringing to an end the situation without Mr Burke backing down.


But given his stated intentions, it seems unlikely Mr Burke, whose family has a history of involvement in legal disputes, will do that.

So how will the situation ever get resolved?

Jennifer O’Connell and Mary Carolan talk to Conor Pope.