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What is a limitation period?

A limitation period is a legal time limit within which a claim must be brought.

Is there the same limitation period for all types of claim?

No. The time limit depends upon the country in which a claim is brought and depends upon the type of claim.

How is a limitation period calculated?

This depends upon the type of claim and there can be complexities for certain types of cases. Some guiding principles for key types of claim are:

  • For contract claims – you have 6 years from the date of breach of contract to bring a claim.
  • For claims associated with deeds – you have 12 years from the breach of the obligation contained in the deed.
  • For tort claims (wrongs other than under contract, for instance nuisance) excluding personal injury – you have 6 years from the date that the damage is suffered.
  • Personal injury – 3 years from the later of the date the damage occurred or the date of knowledge of the person injured (subject to some exceptions).
  • Negligence (re latent damage – this means damage that is not immediately obvious)—3 or 6 years subject to a maximum period of 15 years from the negligent act or omission. This provides the later of six years from the date the damage occurred or three years from the date on which the claimant (person with the cause of action/ who has been wronged) had the requisite knowledge and the right to bring such an action.
  • Fraud – 6 years from when the claimant discovered the fraud or when they could have reasonably discovered it.
  • Defamation- 1 year from the date of publication of the defamatory act.


What will mean that I have taken the step required in time?

Issuing the claim. The party with the cause of action must have delivered a claim form (and accompanying documents) to the court within the relevant deadline.

Will the court refuse my claim if I try to issue after the limitation period?

This is unlikely. It will usually be for a defendant to argue limitation but if a claim is ‘out of time’ you will likely not succeed with continuing it.

What should I do if my claim is approaching limitation?

Don’t sit on it. Seek legal advice as soon as possible.

If you need help and legal advice on disputes contact SHU Law on 0114 225 6666 / 0114 225 5891.

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