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13 Cards in this Set

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Limitation Periods - General Issues
Aim: to provide some degree of legal certainty for potential Defs.

Def must raise the issue for a limitation to bar a claim; the judge cannot hold that a claim is limited of his own accord.

If Def causes Pl to believe that liability has or will be admitted and this causes Pl to miss limitation period, action may be allowed, e.g. Curran v. Carolan & Boyle (1993), where solicitors’ letters suggested that the Def would settle.

The courts have equitable jurisdiction to refuse relief because of the Pl’s delay, even where the limitation period has not yet elapsed, if it is shown that the delay was unreasonable and that it prejudiced the Def’s case.
Curran v. Carolan & Boyle (1993)
Solicitors’ letters suggested that the Def would settle, limitation period extended.
Time Limits
s. 7 Courts Act 2004: personal injuries caused by negligence, nuisance or breach of contracual/statutory duty: 2 years.

s. 11(2)(a) Statute of Limitations 1957: slander: 3 years.

s. 11(2)(a) Statute of Limitations 1957: all other torts: 6 years
s. 7 Courts Act 2004
s. 7 Courts Act 2004: personal injuries caused by negligence, nuisance or breach of contracual/statutory duty: 2 years.
s. 11(2)(a) Statute of Limitations 1957
s. 11(2)(a) Statute of Limitations 1957: slander: 3 years.

s. 11(2)(a) Statute of Limitations 1957: all other torts: 6 years
Accrual of Causes of Action
When do limitation periods start running?

As a general rule, when the constituent elements of the tort come into being.

Hegarty v. O’Loughran (1990): SC held that

i. For torts actionable per se (trespass, libel): the date of the wrongdoing;

ii. For continuing torts (nuisance): the most recent date or wrongdoing;

iii. For other torts (negligence): the date when damage first occurs.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Personal Injuries
For personal injuries: s. 2(1) Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 1991 – date of accrual is the “date of knowledge” (constructive knowledge) of certain facts, e.g. that there was an injury, that it was significant, that the injury was attributable to that act/omission, the identity of the Def etc.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Trespass to the Person
For trespass to the person: as this intentional, it does not constitute personal injury, and thus: 6 years.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Sexual Offences
Sexual offences: time limit for psychological injury caused starts to run from the end of the psychological disability, because only then can the person rationally decide to sue; Statute of Limitations (Amendment) Act 2000.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Property Damage Cases
For property damage cases: the courts are sympathetic for latent defects; under O’Donnell v. Kilsaran Concrete (2001), time starts to run only when latent defects become patent.
O’Donnell v. Kilsaran Concrete (2001)
Time starts to run only when latent defects become patent. In this case, the judge reckoned cracks to have appeared in 1998 despite the house being structrurally unsound from Day One, thus 1998 is when the time limit started to run.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Disability
In cases of disability, accrual occurs only once they have subsided.
Accrual of Causes of Action - Fraud
Fraud: s. 71 1957 Act:

(a) Def fraudulently hides cause of action, or

(b) cause of action based on Def’s fraud; time does not start to run until reasonable discoverability of fraud.