Official Receiver for Northern Ireland v O'Brien  NICh 12;  BPIR 826
(Northern Ireland Chancery Division, Deeny J, 19 April 2012)
Mr and Mrs O were the joint owners as tenants in common of a property. Mr O was made bankrupt in 1990. In 1992 and 1993 the Official Receiver wrote to Mrs O offering to sell his half interest but there was no response. On 15 February 2002, the Official Receiver issued an application seeking possession and sale in lieu of partition. A preliminary issue was ordered as to whether a delay of almost 12 years from adjudication of Mr O as bankrupt to the commencement of the proceedings was and of itself a defence to the applicant's claim. The court held that whilst it was open to a judge who found that a party had not acted within a reasonable time to set aside a limitation period by reason of the Human Rights Act 1998, that would be inappropriate in these circumstances as it would create uncertainty. So the answer to the preliminary issue was that a delay of 12 years from adjudication to commencement of proceedings was not of itself a complete defence.
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