What are the time limits on a professional negligence claim?

In all litigation, there are time limits by which ultimately your claim expires. In a professional negligence claim, it is crucial to think about limitation periods and to be aware that there is an ultimate deadline by which you can bring a claim before it is time-barred.

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out strict statutory deadlines within which you must bring litigation claims. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action (or defend a claim on time). Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your legal dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.

Do you have a claim against a professional? If you want expert legal advice, do not delay in instructing us so we can assess the legal merit of your case. We can often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis (such as a Conditional Fee Arrangement) once we have discussed the claim with you and then assessed and advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.

Our expert legal team of leading Professional Negligence Solicitors & Barristers can provide urgent help, advice or representation to you. Just call our Professional Negligence Lawyers on 02071830529 or email us now.

What is the limitation period for bringing a professional negligence claim?

If based on contract, 6 years from the date of the breach of contract (section 5 of the Limitation Act 1980).

If based on the common law tort of negligence, 6 years from the date the Claimant suffered a financial loss as a result of a negligent professional (section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980).

Why is a limitation period for bringing a claim important?

Limitation is not something that should be ignored. Where a party has a strong case, but the limitation period has expired, the claim will be likely to fail. Even in unusual circumstances, where a party is prevented from issuing its claim in time for reasons beyond its control, the court has no discretion to extend the limitation period in this type of claim. It is, therefore, crucial that limitation issues are considered at the outset of any potential claims.

What can I do if my solicitor misses a limitation date?

Missing a limitation date leading to a claim becoming time-barred is an example of negligence. Contact our professional negligence solicitors as soon as possible. If the original claim had merit, then a claimant is entitled to pursue the errant solicitor or law firm for their loss of chance of success in the claim.

Can I still issue a claim after the limitation period has expired?

If the limitation period expires before you have issued a claim form or entered into a standstill agreement, then your claim will be time-barred. This means that if you begin your legal claim after the limitation period has expired, the defendant will be able to raise limitation as a complete defence to your claim (regardless of how strong a claim it may otherwise be).

Can a limitation period to issue a claim be extended?

In certain circumstances, a limitation period can be extended in the following ways.

How to extend a limitation period using Date of knowledge

Section 14 of the Limitation Act 1980 provides for two alternative start dates for negligence claims:

(1) 6 years from the date the cause of action accrues i.e. when the damage occurs; or

(2) 3 years from the “earliest date on which the Claimant had both the knowledge required for bringing an claim for damages in respect of the relevant damage and a right to bring such a claim.

For the reasons above, it is vital to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware of a potential claim you have against a Defendant.

How to extend a limitation period using Deliberate concealment

Section 32 of the Limitation Act 1980 states that “any fact relevant to the plaintiff’s right of action has been deliberately concealed from him by the Defendant” the 6 year period for bringing a claim does not start until the Claimant has discovered the concealment, or could have done so with reasonable diligence.

The term “deliberate” means that the fact has been concealed by a positive act of concealment or omission or withholding of relevant information.

This means the Defendant must have known that he acted in breach of duty before he can be accused of deliberate concealment. This is a difficult hurdle to overcome and it is important you seek specialist legal advice on the same.

Our team of carefully selected solicitors and barristers, specialising in financial services litigation and professional negligence have advised many clients in deliberate concealment cases against well known financial institutions in relation to mis-selling of complex financial products.

How to extend a limitation period if you allege fraud

Section 32(1)(c) provides for the limitation period to be extended where the action being brought “is based upon the fraud of the defendant”.

The period of limitation shall not begin to run until the Claimant has discovered the fraud or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it

Looking for a solicitor that can offer a no win no fee agreement?

When you instruct us to resolve your legal problem, your case will be dealt with by highly qualified and experienced lawyers.

Damages-Based Agreement (DBA) is an arrangement whereby legal fees are only payable in the event the instruction is successful. We are open to offering DBAs as a means of furthering access to justice to individuals or companies that have a strong legal claim that cannot otherwise be pursued due to the costs of obtaining expert legal advice.

The firm is made up of exceptional lawyers who are practising solicitors and barristers supported by high quality paralegals, legal apprentices and other legal support staff. We regularly work in conjunction with leading Queen’s Counsel and junior barristers from chambers predominantly in London near to our own chambers in Middle Temple. The strength of the legal teams available to our clients helps ensure matters are progressed efficiently and the very best results are obtained for our clients.

Book an Initial Consultation with our Professional Negligence Lawyers

Do you have a claim against a professional? If you want expert legal advice, do not delay in instructing us so we can assess the legal merit of your case.

We can often take on such claims on a no win no fee basis (such as a Conditional Fee Arrangement or Damages Based Agreement) once we have discussed the claim with you and then assessed and advised you on the merits of the proposed professional negligence action.

Our expert legal team of leading Professional Negligence Solicitors & Barristers can provide urgent help, advice or representation to you. Just call our Professional Negligence Lawyers on 02071830529 or email us now.

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LIMITATION ACT 1980 – WARNING

The Limitation Act 1980 sets out strict statutory deadlines within which you must bring litigation claims. Your legal rights will become irreversibly time-barred if you fail to take legal action (or defend a claim on time). Therefore, you should seek specific legal advice about your legal dispute at the very first opportunity so that you understand the time you have left. Failure to take advice or delay in taking action can be fatal to your prospects of success.

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