Jefferson Ltd v Bhetcha: CA 1979

The plaintiffs brought a claim to recover monies appropriated by a former employee who was also facing prosecution for offences in connection with the same matters. The defendant sought a stay of the application for summary judgement.
Held: The application for summary judgement should proceed. The issue of a stay to prevent civil proceedings when criminal prosecutions arising out of the same events are also pending is a matter of discretion to be exercised by reference to the competing considerations. It is not a matter of a rule. The court had a discretion to stay the civil proceedings or to adjourn an application for summary judgment having regard to the concurrent criminal proceedings. One factor to be taken into account was whether there was ‘a real danger of causing injustice in the criminal proceedings’, for example if publicity might influence potential jurors in the criminal proceedings or if disclosure of the defence might enable prosecution witnesses to prepare a fabrication of evidence or might lead to interference with witnesses.


Megaw LJ


[1979] 1 WLR 898


England and Wales


DiscardedSmith v Selwyn 1914
The court considered whether civil proceedings should be delayed pending the conclusion of criminal proceedings: ‘where injuries are inflicted on an individual under circumstances which constitute a felony, that felony cannot be made the foundation . .

Cited by:

CitedPanton and others v Financial Institutions Services Ltd PC 15-Dec-2003
(Jamaica) The appellants faced both civil and criminal proceedings. They sought a stay of the civil proceedings pending the disposal of the civil proceedings. They appealeed a saying that the rule in Smith v Selwyn applied.
Held: The rule is . .
CitedMote v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Another CA 14-Dec-2007
The appellant was accused of having received income benefits to which he was not entitled. A prosecution was commenced and at the same time he appealed to the tribunal against the decision that there had been an overpayment. The authorities . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 05 June 2022; Ref: scu.199225