Limitation Periods and Laches

Graham Virgo

in The Principles of the Law of Restitution

Second edition

Published in print June 2006 | ISBN: 9780199298501
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191713613 | DOI:
 Limitation Periods and Laches

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For reasons of public policy, most civil actions are subject to a time bar whose effect is that, once a particular period of time has passed, the defendant can no longer be sued on that particular action. There are two distinct legal regimes relating to the barring of restitutionary actions by the passage of time. The first and most important regime is contained in the Limitation Act 1980, which specifies particular limitation periods for different types of actions. The second regime is the equitable defence of laches, which determines whether an equitable action is time barred by reference to the justice of the case having regard to all the surrounding circumstances. This chapter discusses reversal of the defendant's unjust enrichment, qualification of the general limitation period for particular restitutionary claims, restitutionary claims founded on the commission of tort or breach of contract, restitutionary claims founded on equitable wrongs, vindication of proprietary rights, and function of the laches defence.

Keywords: laches; limitation periods; unjust enrichment; restitutionary claims; equitable wrongs; vindication; proprietary rights

Chapter.  5293 words. 

Subjects: Civil Law

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