limitation-act-1980The Limitation Act 1980 is a statute of limitations passed by the UK Government, the law is applicable in England and Wales only and provides a time scale for legal actions in response to breaches of the law.

What is the statute of limitations?

The provision of The Limitations Act are commonly referred to as the statute of limitations and it  is a most important piece of legislation that determines when a breach of the law may be actionable and is therefore very important  in respect of a wide range of insurance claims.

When does the “clock start” under the Limitation Act 1980?

The clock starts ticking at different times depending on the nature of the actionable cause. For contract claims the clock starts from the time a contract is breached, for negligence claims it is from the time of the negligent act or from the time the plaintiff had knowledge or should have had reasonable knowledge of the negligence. For personal injury and death claims the clock starts running from the time of the incident or from the time that the incident was linked to the personal injury illness or death.

 What does statute barred mean?

Once the specified time period in respect of a potential cause of action passes any action following that date will be described as statute barred or time barred. If an action is brought out of time the defendant is entitled to enter this as a defence and it is then the responsibility of the plaintiff to show that the actionable cause is not statute barred.

What is a long stop date?

The statute of limitations for certain actionable causes has been modified by subsequent legislation to reflect the fact that the plaintiffs “knowledge” of an actionable cause may not arise during the statutory limits laid down but that for claims excluding personal injury it is not reasonable that the potential liability continues to exist indefinitely. For example whilst a claim arising from latent damages may be made up to three years from the date that the plaintiff has reasonable knowledge the long stop date for such actions is 15 years from the original breach. For non personal injury claims in respect of statutory product liability claims,  a claim may be made up to three years from “reasonable knowledge” but with a long stop date of 10 years from when the product entered circulation.

 Limitation Periods in Respect of Ordinary Actionable Claims

Type Of ClaimLimitation Period
 Tort and Personal InjuryTort: general rule6 Years
 Personal injury3 Years
 Fatal Accidents Act 1976 claims3 Years
 Consumer Protection Act 1987 claims for personal injury or property damage3 Years
 Conversion of goods6 Years
 Claims for personal injury, death or damage against ships or owners2 Years
 Defamation and malicious falsehood1 Year
 Statute Sum recoverable by virtue of statute6 Years
 ContractSimple contract6 Years
Speciality Contract12 Years
 LandRecovery of land12 Years
Recovery of money secured by a mortgage12 Years
Recovery of arrears of rent and consequential damages6 Years
 TrustsFraudulent breach of trustUnlimited
Recovery of trust property and breach of trust12 Years
 ContributionContribution under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 19782 Years
Contribution under the Maritime Conventions Act 19111 Year
Human Rights Act 1998 claim against a public authority1 Year
 
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