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Limitation of Actions

Volume 475: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 18 February 2008, Official Report, column 186W, on A v. Hoare, what progress has been made by the Government in their consideration of the implications of the ruling for civil claims. (201962)

Following the decision of the House of Lords in A v. Hoare and a number of other cases, the limitation period for actions involving trespass to the person has been brought into line with that for other actions for personal injury, namely three years from when the injury occurred or the date on which the victim knows that he or she has good grounds to sue the defendant for the injury caused, whichever is the later. The court has a discretion to extend this period without limit in appropriate cases.

The decision addresses a significant criticism of the law of limitation made by the Law Commission in their 2001 report Limitation of Actions (Law Com 270). This report recommended a general overhaul of current legislation contained in the Limitation Act 1980. The Government accepted the Law Commission’s recommendations in principle, subject to further work in certain areas, in July 2002. This detailed examination of the impact has revealed several issues that need to be resolved. The Government will make a further announcement about the way forward when this work is complete.