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High Court considers limitation when cause of action accrues at midnight (Matthew v Sedman)

Published on: 13 February 2018
Published by: LexisPSL
  • High Court considers limitation when cause of action accrues at midnight (Matthew v Sedman)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Case details

Article summary

Dispute Resolution analysis:The High Court considered when a limitation period ended in circumstances where the cause of action had accrued on the stroke of midnight. When a cause of action accrues during the course of a day, that day is disregarded for limitation purposes and the clock is said to start ticking from the start of the following day. In this case, the cause of action accrued at midnight. The court accordingly had to address the question ‘when a cause of action is completely constituted at the very first moment of a particular day, does that day fall to be included when calculating the applicable…limitation period or does it fall to be excluded?’ The court decided that, if it is ‘absolutely clear that the cause of action arises at the very beginning of a particular day, that day should not be excluded from the calculation for Limitation Act purposes’. The claim in the instant case was accordingly out of time. Written by David Willink, counsel, of Lamb Chambers. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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