Claim – Limitation Period for Contribution Claim
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Court of Appeal: Jackson
LJ, Patten LJ and Lewison LJ
The claimant’s appeal against a
decision that its claim against defendant under the Civil Liability
(Contribution) Act 1978 was statute barred.
An employee of the current
claimant, a Mr Chegwidden, had brought a claim for personal injury damages
against them after he developed mesothelioma as a result of exposure to
asbestos. That claim settled on 4 November 2010 by Mr Chegwidden accepting a
Part 36 offer of £71,351.20 damages plus costs to be assessed if not agreed. A
consent order recorded the settlement on 15 December 2010 and on 15 September
2011 a consent order was made in regard to Mr Chegwidden’s costs.
On 3 December 2010 the claimant
commenced contributions proceedings against the defendant under the Civil Liability
(Contribution) Act 1978 (‘the 1978 Act’) on the grounds that the defendant had
owned the building in which Mr Chegwidden worked. The defendant denied all
allegations of negligence and stated that the contribution claim was statute
barred as it had been made after the two year limitation period. A preliminary
issue trial took place on 1 October 2013 and the District Judge held that the
contribution claim was statute barred and dismissed the action. The claimant
appealed on the basis that the consent order was dated 15 December 2010 and an
agreement on costs in any event was reached on a later date, that the judge at
first instance erred in finding that s 10(4) of the 1978 Act applied
instead of s 10(3).