What Does ‘Time Barred’ Mean?
What Does ‘Time Barred’ Mean?
If you have discovered that a claim your solicitor was pursuing on your behalf has been ‘time barred’, you may be wondering what this means, exactly, and where to go from here. Put simply, it means that the time permitted to bring forward the issue has passed and it is no longer possible to pursue the case against your opponent.
This occurs when a fixed amount of time has passed and depends on which area of law the case is founded upon. The time limits are stated in The Limitation Act (1980), which is used as a defence when a case is brought against the Defendant, should it be relevant in terms of time elapsed. This is why you might have heard it referred to as a ‘limitation’ defence. Sometimes, time barred cases may also be said to be ‘statute barred’, which relates to it being time barred under the Limitation Act (1980), which is the Statute of Limitation. Should The Limitation Act (1980) not cover the time limit for a particular type of case then alternatively the courts may set the length of time.
The point in time that the countdown may start depends upon the type of case. In negligence cases it is often when the action first caused damage, or may be when the Claimant first has knowledge of certain facts including the damage. Further complexities mean that it is best to seek legal advice from a trusted, qualified professional.
If you have a claim against an opponent, a time limit in which to bring it may seem unfair. It exists because the law attempts to account for competing public interests. The law allows for access to justice so that claims can be made, but also acts in the interest of all of us being free of indefinite claims arising from any particular event. The lawmakers’ assessment is that finality of proceedings is for everyone’s overall benefit, so a time limit needs to be established. As these time limits are part of our general law, your Solicitor is expected to be aware of them and is under a duty to advise you about them so that your action can be brought in time.
If your solicitor has negligently lost your claim through having it pronounced ‘time barred’ or ‘statute barred’, or you have found that you can no longer pursue an action because of your Solicitor negligently causing such a ‘limitation defence’ to arise, you probably find yourself frustrated with this injustice. If your case otherwise had significant potential, even if some elements were not very strong, you will be relieved to know that it is possible to make a successful claim against your solicitor. The same is true if you are a Defendant and you had the benefit of a limitation defence available to you but it has not been raised in time by your Solicitor, causing you to lose the defence.
Perhaps they failed to interpret The Limitation Act correctly or maybe they missed a crucial deadline. Whatever the reason, you are within your rights to seek advice on finding an appropriate remedy. Such advice should be sought sooner rather than later to ensure that time is on your side.
In order to give your claim the best chance of success, it is essential that when selecting a new solicitor to act on your behalf that you choose one with a wealth of experience in winning solicitor’s negligence cases for their clients. When making your selection, it is also helpful to look for those whose process can minimalise, as much as possible, any stress involved for you. This is something you can also expect from a more experienced solicitor’s negligence specialist firm such as Matthew Wilkinson Solicitors.*
You can make a free enquiry by using our online enquiry form, or by calling us on
0800 043 9981 or dial 0333 577 0172 if calling from a mobile.
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*Matthew Wilkinson Solicitors have decades of experience in pursuing these claims, including many successful claims arising from actions, which were time barred as a result of their previous Solicitor’s negligence.
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