Timing is Everything – Section 14A in Practice – Hardwicke Chambers

Posted January 31st, 2012 in damages, limitations, negligence, news, time limits by sally

“In a claim for damages for the tort of negligence the cause of action accrues at the date that damage occurs, even if is no-one knows about it at the time. The problem with this principle is vividly illustrated by the famous decision of the House of Lords in Pirelli v Oscar Faber & Partners [1983] 2 AC 1 where the defendant engineers were retained by the claimants to design a chimney at their factory. The chimney was lined with a new material Lytag and completed in July 1969. By April 1970 cracks had appeared at the top of the chimney but the claimants did not become aware of them until November 1977. They made repairs and issued a writ in October 1978. Overturning the decision below the Lords held that the claim was statute barred because the damage had occurred in April 1970, and thus the cause of action was complete more than six years before the claim was issued and, as it happened, more than six years before the claimants knew they had a claim.”

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Hardwicke Chambers, 25th January 2012

Source: www.hardwicke.co.uk