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Claim Preparation


The Law of Tort

Initial Stages

Commencement of Proceedings

Claim Form N1

Money Claim Online

Possession Claim Online

Civil Claims Issue Service Particulars Response

Start of Civil Case

Responding to a Claim

Late Servicing of Defence

Civil Claim Limitation Periods

Joining Participants and Causes of Action

Pre Action Protocol

Mortgage Pre-action Protocol

Rent Pre-action Protocol

Per-action Protocol RTA

Disease Pre-action Protocol

Housing Pre-action Protocol

Construction Pre-action Protocol

Judicial Review of Pre-action Protocol

Clinical Disputes Pre-action Protocol

Professional Negligence Pre-action Protocol

Pre-action Protocol for Personal Injury

Pre-action Protocols for Civil Litigation

Pre-action Protocol for Defamation

Letters of Claim

Letters of Claim for Illness

Letters of Claim for Housing

Letters of Claim for Construction

Letters of Claim for Judicial Review

Letters of Claim for Medical Negligence

Letters of Claim for Professional Negligence

Letters of Claim for Personal Injury

Letters of Claim for Defamation

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Limitation Periods

What is meant by a limitation period?

Limitation periods under the law of England and Wales are fixed by the Limitations Act 1980 and are defined as the period of time for which an individual can bring a claim. Once the limitation period has finished there will be a complete defence available to the defendant against any claim made by the claimant that the claim has been brought outside the period of limitation.

What is the reasoning for this?

The reasoning for this under the laws of England and Wales is that it is contrary to public policy for persons to be perpetually exposed to litigation for wrongful acts. When significant time has passed following a wrongful act certain things may become subject to change such as witnesses’ memories may fade, documentary evidence available to properly judge the case is less likely to be available or in certain cases even exist.

These above factors may prevent proper justice being served – as a consequence of this it is in the public interest that claims become barred by statute after a certain period of time has elapsed.

Are the limitations for all claims framed by the Litigation Act 1980?

The Limitations Act 1980 sets up the limitation periods for many different types of claim. However, it is not all encompassing as other statutes may set the limitation period for certain types of specialist claims.

Will the defence of the end of the limitation period automatically apply?

The defence that a certain limitation period has expired in relation to a certain claim must be raised by the defendant. Therefore it will not apply if it is not raised by the defendant.

What is the limitation period for various kinds of claim?

The various limitation periods for different kinds of claim are prescribed in the Limitation Act 1980. They are as follows:

The above list is not a complete list of the limitation periods under the Limitations Act 1980. If you wish to understand the full list of limitation periods or want to know the period for a specific claim you should seek legal advice as it may be provided for in the Limitations Act or alternatively a specialist piece of legislation.

When will a limitation period commence?

A limitation period will commence at the time that the cause of action becomes active for the claimant. The time starts to run from the earliest time that the legal proceedings first could have been brought. This means that every fact which is required to commence an action must be in existence before the limitation period will start to run.

This means that the last fact which gives rise to the claim must fall within the limitation period. If we take the example of a breach of contract the limitation period will start to run from the date that the breach alleged by the claimant occurred. This would apply regardless of how long ago the contract was entered into. For example the contract may have been entered into 10 years ago but the breach occurred two years into the existence of the contract – the claim for breach of contract must then be brought within 6 years of the date the breach occurred.

Situation where certain facts have been concealed from the claimant

In certain cases facts in relation to the claim will have been concealed from the claimant by the defendant – in this scenario the limitation period will only commence when the claimant becomes aware of these relevant facts or the date that he should have become aware of these relevant facts.

When would the limitation period begin in relation to a claim brought under the law of tort?

The limitation period for a claim brought under the law of tort would begin at the date on which the damage was suffered by the claimant, rather than the date the claimant became aware of the damage.

Does the Limitation Act 1980 only apply to civil claims?

The Limitation Act 1980 only applies to civil claims. Whether there is limitation periods set for certain criminal acts will depend upon the specific statute for that type of act. Many serious criminal acts such as murder and rape have no limitation period.

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