What is a prejudicial question?

A prejudicial question generally exists in a situation where a civil action and a criminal action are both pending, and there exists in the former an issue that must be pre-emptively resolved before the latter may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in the civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et de jure of the guilt or innocence of the accused in the criminal case.[1] The rationale behind the principle is to avoid two conflicting decisions,[2] and its existence rests on the concurrence of two essential elements: (i) the civil action involves an issue similar or intimately related to the issue raised in the criminal action; and (ii) the resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.[3] [1] Yap v. Cabales, G.R. No. 159186, June 5, 2009.

[2] Id.

[3] RULES OF COURT, Rule 111, Sec. 7.