In my experience when attempting to address unsatisfactory treatment from companies and organisations I have often been told that they cannot say anything about the issue due to police having been called about the incident.

Is there anything legal behind this, or is it just a cheap cargo culting type of cop out (no pun intended) because of the uncomfortable fact that their organisation had screwed up?


2 Answers 2


There’s some truth in it

When a matter, particularly a criminal matter, is before a court or sub judice, public comment is forbidden and may be contempt of court unless they are “a fair and accurate report of legal proceedings held in public, published contemporaneously and in good faith.”

Technically, it only applies to media reporting (probably including social media) and only while the proceedings are active. Proceedings become active when there is an arrest, oral charge, issue of a warrant, or a summons.

Notwithstanding, there is nothing preventing an organisation having a “no comment” policy on any matter once there is police involvement.

  • As it applies only when proceedings are “active,” does it apply to private calls and emails directly with a customer that are not “published “ in a sense, as social media is? Jan 4, 2023 at 15:17
  • Whether they are required to keep silent or not, they are allowed to.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 5, 2023 at 7:10

Most likely the person you asked cannot tell you because (a) police is involved and (b) they have orders from their boss not to give out any information if police is involved.

And since this works (you don’t get information which is what the business intended) it’s not a “cargo cutting type of cop out”. It’s a good strategy to avoid trouble for the person you asked and their company.

  • Okay, but it is then still a sort of cargo culting type of cop out, in that they appear to be feigning as though it is out of the organisation’s control as to whether they can continue engaging with you or not. It is their own prerogative which they appear to be casting as in line with some sort of legal requirement which it may indeed loosely resemble, but they would like to shift your resentment away from them and onto the law which they are insinuating that they are being bound by, so in the sense I would probably still say it is a cop out. But nonetheless this is an insightful answer. Jan 6, 2023 at 22:09

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