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Solicitors: Negligence

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 5 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward proposals to remove the 15 year rule for negligence of solicitors under the Limitation Act 1980. (191791)

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out time limits for bringing certain types of civil claim. These include claims arising from negligence including negligence on the part of professionals such as solicitors. In certain specific circumstances, the Act imposes a 15 year ‘long stop’ limitation period which operates to bar claims where the claimant has not discovered the damage complained of until after the ‘primary’ limitation period has expired.

The Law Commission has made recommendations to reform the law of limitation. These include reducing the 15 year period described above to 10 years. The Government have accepted these recommendations in principle and is currently preparing a consultation paper which will seek views on a draft Bill to implement them. Any changes to the law will be made after full consultation.