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laches


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(Norman French lasches: negligence)

Neglect and unreasonable delay in enforcing an equitable right. If a plaintiff with full knowledge of the facts takes an unnecessarily long time to bring an action (e.g. to set aside a contract obtained by fraud) the court will be of no assistance; hence the maxim ‘the law will not help those who sleep on their rights’. No set period is given but if the action is covered by limitation-of-actions legislation, the period given will not be shortened. Otherwise the time allowed depends on the circumstances.

Subjects: Business and Management — Law.


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