Limitation periods – The basics

If you are considering to make a claim against another individual or business after some time has passed from the initial dispute, one of the first things you should determine is whether the claim you are seeking to make is time-barred/ within the limitation period.

What is a limitation period?

A limitation period is the duration in which you can make a claim. In the instance where a claim has not been brought by the claimant within this time period, it can be used by the defendant as a defence in the proceedings.

Most limitation periods are set out in the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980), which lays out the various timescales for the different types of proceedings. For example, simple contractual disputes have a limitation period of 6 years whereas a breach of contract claim has a limitation period of 12 years. In addition to the LA1980, several other statutes lay down limitation periods in addition to some procedural rules which act rather like limitation periods.

When does the limitation period begin and end?

Generally, the limitation period commences on the date the cause of action arises. This can however vary dependant on a number of factors. With regards to the ending period, the usual rule is that no objection can be taken to a claim started on the last day of the limitation period, but there is a complete defence if proceedings are issued one day late.

Whilst the limitation period can provide for some flexibility, especially when considering the potential effects of the pandemic, it is always best to act sooner than later with a claim rather than sitting on it and taking the risk of it becoming time barred.

If you’d like to know more about this article, or have any questions relating to limitation periods, contact Lawdit Solicitors today.  

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