Missed limitation dates
One of the most common types of solicitor negligence is missed limitation dates. A limitation date refers to the amount of time an individual has to start a legal claim, from the date they suffered loss or harm.
It is the solicitor’s responsibility to ensure they serve the claim to court in time. Every law firm should have strict measures in place to ensure that all the claims they are running are done so with the time limit in mind. However, good practice processes such as these are not always put in place, or adhered to.
The 1980 Limitation Act
The 1980 Limitation Act sets the time limits applicable to each type of legal claim, including making a claim for compensation.
Although on some rare occasions the court will extend time limits, as a general rule of thumb, civil claims must be served within six years, while personal injury claims should be made within three years from the date of the injury or the diagnosis of the injury, or up to the age of 21 years old for matters involving children.
Professional negligence and solicitor negligence fall under civil claims, meaning firms of solicitors will have to serve these types of claims within six years. An exception is three years from when you knew of the claim.
The Limitation Act 1980 sets the time limit applicable to each type of legal claim, including making a claim for compensation:
- Civil claims (breach of contract or negligence) must be served within six years
- Personal injury claims must be served within three years of the date of injury
- Some claims (such as defamation) must be served within one year.
In terms of civil claims such as breach of contract or negligence, there is an exception to the six year rule. If the exception applies, these claims can be brought within three years of the date of reasonable knowledge, subject to a fifteen year-long stop rule.