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Limitation Period: Time Limits for Bringing a Claim

Limitation Period: Time Limits for Bringing a Claim

Limitation period

In England and Wales, it is deemed to be in the public interest that legal claims are barred by statute after a specific period of time. Under the Limitation Act 1980, limitation periods impose time limits by which a party may bring a claim or provide notice of a claim to another party.

Understanding limitation periods is vital for both legal practitioners and individuals seeking redress, as failure to comply with these time constraints may result in the claim being considered as ‘time-barred’ and could be struck off.

Understanding limitation periods involves having a thorough comprehension of the specific statutes and regulations for different types of claims.

The time within which a party can make a claim varies depending on the nature of the cause of action, with statutes of limitations addressing diverse legal scenarios, from defamation to simple contract disputes.

At Annecto Legal, we can offer guidance on where to seek advice for limitation periods on different types of claims, as well as securing funding for your case. Our service is designed to ensure that any business or individual involved in litigation or dispute resolution has the correct support.

What are the limitation periods for different types of claims?

Limitation periods are laid out in the Limitation Act 1980 and vary depending on the type of legal claim. Here is an overview of limitation periods for some common types of claims:

Contractual Claims:

    • The limitation period for breach of contract and breach of duty claims is typically 6 years from the date of the breach.

Tort (Non-Personal Injury) Claims:

    • For tort claims other than personal injuries, such as negligence claims, the limitation period is generally 6 years from the date of the tortious act.

Property Claims:

    • Claims related to real property (land) have a limitation period of 12 years.

Professional Negligence Claims:

    • Claims against professionals, such as lawyers or accountants, for professional negligence generally have a limitation period of 6 years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.

Defamation Claims:

    • Defamation claims have a limitation period of 1 year from the date of the publication of the defamatory statement.

Debt Recovery Claims:

Actions under the Consumer Protection Act 1987:

  • The limitation period in respect of a defective product that caused personal injury, death or damage to any property begins 3 years from:
    • The date of death or cause of action
    • The date of the personal representatives’ knowledge
    • The date of knowledge of the injury

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and specific circumstances or exceptions may apply. We are not providing you with any legal advice.

Additionally, the date from which the limitation period starts to run can vary based on when the claimant becomes aware of the cause of action.

In some cases, the court may have discretion to extend or disapply limitation periods under certain circumstances.

Legal advice should be sought to determine the precise limitation period applicable to a particular claim, as the information provided here is a general overview and may be subject to changes in legislation.

When will the limitation period commence?

The commencement of the limitation period will begin at the time that the cause of action arises, marking the earliest point when legal proceedings could have been initiated. Therefore, all essential facts necessary to commence an action must be present before the limitation period begins.

In certain instances, this may be a considerable period, possibly extending to years after the relevant event. This may be because a party may not know they have a potential legal claim until certain issues become apparent.

In some cases, facts in relation to the claim may have been concealed from the claimant by the defendant. In these circumstances, the limitation period will only begin from when the claimant becomes aware of the relevant facts, or the date that they should have been made aware of them.

What happens after the limitation period ends?

In principle, it is possible for a claimant to initiate a civil claim even after the expiration of the limitation period. Should the defendant seek to dismiss it on the grounds of being time-barred, they must explicitly raise this as a defense.

The Court can still allow a claim to proceed, even where the limitation period has passed. Nevertheless, for the Court to grant such permission, the claim must demonstrate exceptional strength for the Court to do so, and compelling reasons would typically need to be presented to justify the continuation of the claim; for instance, if the claim is not defended.

How can Annecto Legal assist?

When deciding whether to pursue a commercial litigation claim, the limitation period is only one factor that needs to be considered. The financial implications of being liable for the legal costs of both sides if the case isn’t successful, is often one of the biggest factors to consider.

Annecto clients manage the financial risks of commercial litigation claims using options such as third party litigation funding and after-the-event (ATE) commercial legal expenses insurance.

We can further help you find the right guidance regarding limitation periods for the claim that you are looking to pursue.

Unfortunately, because of the high costs of legal actions in the UK, we only assist in disputes which are valued at over £250,000, at the absolute minimum. We would like to be able to help on other claims, but we just don’t have access to any products that can assist on smaller matters.

If you are in the process of pursuing or defending a claim and want to find out whether you’ve got a claim, then contact Annecto Legal now.

Get in touch

* Annecto Legal can only assist on case where the loss is in excess of £100,000, with the exception of data breach claims. If you need assistance on a claim worth over £100,000, please get in touch using our form or the details below:

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Annecto Legal Ltd, 106 Kennedy Building, Murray Street, Manchester , M4 6HS


0800 612 6587


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