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(p. 638) 20. Limitation of Actions 

(p. 638) 20. Limitation of Actions
Chapter:
(p. 638) 20. Limitation of Actions
Author(s):

Jack Beatson

, Andrew Burrows

, and John Cartwright

DOI:
10.1093/he/9780198734789.003.0020
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date: 19 April 2021

At common law, lapse of time does not affect contractual rights. But it is the policy of the law to discourage stale claims because, after a long period, a defendant may not have the evidence to rebut such claims and should be in a position to know that after a given time an incident which might have led to a claim is finally closed. Accordingly, in the Limitation Act 1980, the Legislature has laid down certain periods of limitation after the expiry of which no action can be maintained. Equity has developed a doctrine of laches, under which a claimant who has not shown reasonable diligence in prosecuting the claim may be barred from equitable relief.

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