- Civil claim that could undermine criminal conviction struck out as abuse of process (Ahmed v Director General of Security Service)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: No system of justice can operate effectively or be trusted by users if the outcome of a second case will undermine a final decision already taken. If any appeal process is either not permitted, or has been concluded, the decision stands. In this case, that principle was applied to a situation where a convicted criminal defendant later makes a civil claim. If the court decides that the essence of the civil case covers territory close to that of the evidence used in the prosecution, it must consider whether to allow it to continue. This is because its outcome could seriously undermine the factual foundations of the conviction, bringing the administration of justice into disrepute. Where that is the case, the answer is to stop the second case as an abuse of process. Striking out the convicted claimant’s claim for damages, the judge decided the civil claim was an abuse. Written by Ian Gascoigne, dispute lawyer and legal trainer.
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