Government proposes radical changes to time limits for bringing civil claims

United Kingdom
The Lord Chancellor announced this week that the Government has accepted in principle recommendations by the Law Commission to streamline time limits for bringing civil claims. Currently, the Limitation Act 1980 provides for varying limitation periods depending on the nature of the claim.

The recommendations are contained in the Law Commission report entitled "Limitation of Actions" and suggest a core limitation period of three years within which to bring a claim. That period would run from the date on which a claimant knows (or ought reasonably to know) the facts giving rise to the cause of action, the identity of the defendant and that any injury, loss or damage is significant. The court would have a discretion to permit a personal injury claim to be brought outside that core period.

The Commission also proposes a 10 year longstop period (30 years in the case of personal injury claims) within in which a claim must be commenced. Claims in relation to land would also be subject to a 10 year limitation period.

At present there is no timetable for introducing legislation to replace the 1980 Act. The Government has only indicated that it will do so "when an opportunity arises".

For further information please contact Amanda Wadey at amanda.wadey@cms-cmck.com or on + 44(0)20 7367 2308.