Limitation Periods – how long do I have to take a legal claim?

February 8, 2017

Limitation Periods are the amount of time within which you must take any legal claim.  This is the period within which a claim must be formally started.  The law on limitation periods is set out in the Limitation Act 1980 and if the date is missed, it can mean you will not be permitted to make your claim, even though you may have otherwise won.

The most widely applicable Limitation Periods are:

Six years for actions in respect of simple contracts and of tort (this is a civil claim, such as a neighbour dispute);

Three years for actions in respect of most personal injury claims (unless the client is a child or disabled or the claim is at sea or in the air).

There are separate rules in respect of mortgages:

Twelve years for an action to recover a sum secured by a mortgage or other charge on property; and
Six years for an action to recover arrears of interest in respect of any sum of money secured by a mortgage or charge.

Whatever the nature of the Claim, it is advisable to take advice quickly, as the Limitation clock starts ticking from the day on which you should have been aware of your potential claim, even if you do not confirm the position promptly.

Loss of Opportunity Claims – what if you missed the Limitation Period?

If you took legal advice on making a claim, but were not advised of the Limitation Period, then you may be able to make a claim against that adviser, known as a Loss of Opportunity claim.  This is where you were denied the opportunity to go to court because, having taken advice on the matter, the time limit expired.

If you are considering issuing a civil claim, get in touch with the litigation team and we will be able to help.

The information provided in all of our blogs reflects only a narrative of some elements to consider on the topic. The blogs do not contain considered legal advice and should not be relied upon as advice. Please see our website terms and conditions for full details of our disclaimer. If you are interested in obtaining advice, please contact one of our lawyers who will be happy and able to advise you on your own particular circumstances.

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