Legal News

Limitation and the stroke of midnight (Matthew v Sedman)

Published on: 21 March 2019
Published by: LexisPSL
  • Limitation and the stroke of midnight (Matthew v Sedman)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Judgment of HHJ Hodge QC in the High Court
  • Judgment of the Court of Appeal
  • When did the relevant cause of action accrue?
  • Computation of time in ‘stroke of midnight’ cases
  • Case details

Article summary

Dispute Resolution analysis: Where limitation is concerned, minutes and hours can matter as much as days. This is what the Court of Appeal found in Matthew v Sedman, upholding the judgment of HHJ Hodge QC on an issue which he had described as ‘short but interesting and not unimportant.’ The Court of Appeal’s decision is a must-read for anyone dealing with litigation issued at or near the expiry of the limitation period. Matthew v Sedman concerned difficult questions about the date (or even time of day) at which causes of action accrue and the calculation of limitation periods in professional negligence claims. The trustees and beneficiaries of the Evelyn Hammond Will Trust (the claimants) brought proceedings against the trust’s former trustees (the defendants) for a failure to submit claims under a court sanctioned scheme of arrangement. In November 2017 HHJ Hodge QC held that part of the claimants’ claim was time barred and granted the defendants summary judgment on this aspect of the case. Permission to appeal was granted and the Court of Appeal heard the claimants’ appeal on 15 January 2019. The decision of the Court of Appeal is considered by Helen Evans of 4 New Square. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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