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The act of temporarily stopping a judicial proceeding through the order of a court.

A stay is a suspension of a case or a suspension of a particular proceeding within a case. A judge may grant a stay on the motion of a party to the case or issue a stay sua sponte, without the request of a party. Courts will grant a stay in a case when it is necessary to secure the rights of a party.

There are two main types of stays: a stay of execution and a stay of proceedings. A stay of execution postpones the enforcement of a judgment against a litigant who has lost a case, called the Judgment Debtor. In other words, if a civil litigant wins money damages or some other form of relief, he may not collect the damages or receive the relief if the court issues a stay. Under rule 62 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, every civil judgment is stayed for ten days after it is rendered. An additional stay of execution lasts only for a limited period. It usually is granted when the judgment debtor appeals the case, but a court may grant a stay of execution in any case in which the court feels the stay is necessary to secure or protect the rights of the judgment debtor.

The term stay of execution may also refer to a halt in the execution of a death penalty. This kind of stay of execution normally is granted when a court decides to allow an additional appeal by a condemned prisoner. Such stays of execution may be granted by executives, such as governors or the president of the United States, or by appeals courts.

A stay of proceedings is the stoppage of an entire case or a specific proceeding within a case. This type of stay is issued to postpone a case until a party complies with a court order or procedure. For example, if a party is required to deposit collateral with the court before a case begins, the court may order the proceedings stayed for a certain period of time or until the money or property is delivered to the court. If the party fails to deposit the collateral, the court may cite the party for Contempt of court and impose a fine or order incarceration.

A court may stay a proceeding for a number of reasons. One common reason is that another action is under way that may affect the case or the rights of the parties in the case. For instance, assume that a defendant faces lawsuits from the same plaintiffs in two separate cases involving closely related facts. One case is filed in federal court, and the other case is filed in state court. In this situation one of the courts may issue a stay in deference to the other court. The stay enables the defendant to concentrate on one case at a time.

The term stay may also be used to describe any number of legal measures taken by a legislature to provide temporary relief to debtors. For example, under section 362(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, a debtor who files for bankruptcy receives an automatic stay immediately upon filing a voluntary bankruptcy petition. Used in this sense, the term stay refers to the right of the debtor to keep creditors at bay during the resolution of the bankruptcy case.

Further readings

Hazard, Geoffrey C., Jr., Colin C. Tait, and William A. Fletcher. 1994. Cases and Materials on Pleading and Procedure: State and Federal. 7th ed. Westbury, N.Y.: Foundation Press.


Capital Punishment.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


n. a court-ordered short-term delay in judicial proceedings to give a losing defendant time to arrange for payment of the judgment or move out of the premises in an unlawful detainer case. (See: stay of execution)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
STAYING: Ian Harte to fight for his place at Leeds United; STAYING: Goalkeeper Shay Given has been told to stay at Newcastle
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Departing on May 11 from Glasgow, a week in Lanzarote, staying at the two star Bitacora Apartments in Puerto del Carmen, staying on a self-catering basis from pounds 254 per adult.
When she is staying for several seconds at a time, add the verbal "stay" cue in a pleasant tone of voice after you cue the sit.
For their convenience, the same student group can also apply for staying in Taiwan or extending the stay online instead of applying in person, according to another related new measure.
For example, the Fifth Circuit has recognized that while the Federal Arbitration Act doesn't expressly allow for a stay of arbitration, in the appropriate circumstances, an order staying arbitration is within the power of the district court.
ESCAPE to the Scottish Highlands staying at the newly refurbished four-star Macdonald Highlands Hotel, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park, with their exclusive summer short break deal.
Staying cool is going in a nice cold pool and relaxing on a lounge chair float.
Flying from Glasgow, on September 23, seven nights in Lanzarote, staying at the 3* Ficus, PS489, all inclusive | Flying from Glasgow on September 25, seven nights in Ibiza, staying at the 3* Hotel Caribe, half board, PS399 | Flying from Glasgow, on September 27, seven nights in Bulgaria, staying at the 3* Belleville, half board, PS299 | Flying from Edinburgh, on October 20, seven nights in Turkey, staying at the 3* Ideal Pearl, all inclusive, PS359 | Flying from Glasgow, on October 30, seven nights in Tunisia, staying at the 3* Sahara Beach, all inclusive, PS365 | Flying from Edinburgh on July 29, three nights in Prague City, staying at the three star Hotel City Club, on bed and breakfast from PS219 per person based on two sharing.
An order from the lower tribunal staying the effect of its judgment or order is a nullity unless a notice of appeal or petition is actually filed.
Plus, should I speak to his girlfriend's parents to check they're OK with her staying over or is that interfering?