Extending the limitation period in clinical negligence claims
Extending the limitation period in clinical negligence claims

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Extending the limitation period in clinical negligence claims
  • Summary

Section 33(1) of the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980) allows the court to extend the three-year limitation period under LA 1980, s 11, if it is equitable to do so, having regard to the degree to which the provisions of LA 1980, s 11 prejudice the claimant and the extent that any decision of the court, exerting its discretion under LA 1980, s 33 would prejudice the defendant.

LA 1980, s 33(3) requires a court, when deciding whether to disapply the primary limitation period, to have regard to all the circumstances of the case some of which are specifically identified in the section namely:

  1. the length of and reasons for the delay on the part of the claimant

  2. the extent to which, having regard to the delay, the evidence that is likely to be less cogent than if the claim had been brought within the time allowed by section 11 or (as the case may be) by section 12

  3. the conduct of the defendant after the cause of action arose, including the extent to which the defendant responded to requests reasonably made by the claimant for information relevant to the case

  4. the duration of the claimant’s disability

  5. the extent to which the claimant acted promptly and reasonably once he knew whether or not the act or omission of the defendant might be