Limitation – Date of Knowledge – Awareness of Loss – Scotland
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30 July 2014
Lord Neuberger (President), Lord
Sumption JSC, Lord Reed JSC, Lord Toulson JSC, Lord Hodge JSC
This case concerns the limitation
period that applies under the Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act (1973). The defendant
(appellant) successfully appealed the decision of the Inner Court which had allowed the claimant’s
claim out of time. The claimant had argued that he was not out of time because
the appropriate period ran from the date he knew that his loss was caused and
as a result of the defendant’s negligence. By majority decision the Supreme
Court reversed the decision, saying mere knowledge that the damage might
possibly have been caused by negligence of another was enough. However in this
case that was much earlier and the claim was out of time.
Under the Prescription and
Act (1973) a claimant has 5 years from the date of loss to bring his or her
claim for damages. Section 11(3) of the Act creates an exception if the
claimant was not aware that the loss arose from the negligence of another and
in those circumstances the appropriate period runs from the date of that knowledge.