Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984
Produced in partnership with Thomas Ogden of 4 New Square and Anneliese Day QC of Fountain Court Chambers
Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Thomas Ogden of 4 New Square and Anneliese Day QC of Fountain Court Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984
  • The general principle
  • The application of law relating to limitation
  • Suspending a limitation period
  • Exception—public policy (section 2(1))
  • Exception—undue hardship (section 2(2))
  • Cases in which undue hardship has been found
  • Cases in which undue hardship has not been found
  • Exception—Rome I and Rome II (section 8)
  • Concept of ‘relating back’
  • More...

Brexit: The UK's departure from the EU has significant implications for practitioners considering applicable law and jurisdiction issues. For guidance, see Practice Note: Brexit post implementation period—considerations for dispute resolution practitioners.

The general principle

The fundamental rule underpinning the Foreign Limitation Periods Act (FLPA 1984) is that English law is not automatically applicable when determining limitation periods in proceedings that have an international element. The core provision is FLPA 1984, s 1(1), which provides that where, in any action or proceedings in a court in England and Wales, the law of any other country is to be applied in determining the substantive dispute, the limitation laws of that country will also be applied in determining any limitation issues.

Where the substantive disputes to be determined in the matter require the application of both English law and the law of a foreign country, the limitation laws of both countries will apply (FLPA 1984, ss 1(b), 2). If that is the case, the claimant will have to prove that the claim has been brought within the limitation periods provided in both countries’ limitation laws (ie the effective limitation period will be whichever is shortest).

When the FLPA 1984 does not apply, the issue of limitation will be determined in accordance with the limitation periods prescribed by the Limitation Act 1980 (LA 1980).

The application of law relating to limitation

Often, the critical

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