2017: A Year of Legacy Claims?

Over the next week or so, three words – “Happy New Year !“ – shall be uttered to colleagues as normal business resumes following the Yuletide break. It seems like it was only yesterday that the same words were used as we waved goodbye to 2015 and said hello 2016.

The point is that another year has passed by and, with that, another year in the limitation period of legacy claims. That is, potential – historic –– claims, not yet time-barred for the purposes of the Limitation Act 1980, but there for the taking in 2017. If you are aware of the potential for such claims affecting your business, then make it your new year’s resolution to dust off your old files and ascertain whether your legacy claims are worth pursuing and, if so, how to do so, before your claims become time-barred.

Legacy claims affecting your business may include claims for defective design or workmanship, claims in negligence against contract administrators and construction professionals or additional fee claims by consultants. Whatever the nature of your legacy claim, Devonshires can help you simply and effectively stop time for limitation purposes, advise you on the merits of your claim and support you step-by-step through the process of recovering damages.

If you think you have a legacy claim then you can quickly check whether it is time-barred by reference to the table below. Alternatively, or for more information, contact Matthew Cocklin.


ClaimLimitation PeriodStart Date

  • 6 years (if the contract was not executed as a deed); or
  • 12 years (if the contract was executed as a deed).
Date of breach of contract which, for the purposes of a construction contract, usually means the date of practical completion of the Works.
Negligence (at common law)Either:

  • 6 years (“Primary Period”); or
  • 3 years if this expires later than the Primary Period subject to an ultimate long-stop date of 15 years from the date of damage.
Date on which the claimant had, or could reasonably have had, knowledge of the key facts to make a claim possible.
Defective Premises Act 19726 yearsDate of completion of the dwelling (likely to be the date of practical completion and therefore the same as a claim for breach of contract).


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