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  • Be aware of causes of action with short limitation periods.
  • Take care to understand whether a limitation period may apply to claims in equity.
  • Understand the point in time from which the limitation period runs.
  • Refer to Lawcover’s Schedule of Limitation Periods.

Calculating the correct time for the commencement of proceedings for damages for various causes of action, is essential to ensuring that proceedings are not statute-barred. Sounds obvious – simple even, but that’s not always the case. Lawcover’s Schedule of Limitation Periods, published annually on the Lawcover website, is one resource designed to assist practitioners. It covers a range of civil causes of action in New South Wales, and identifies the relevant legislative sources for each.

For the purposes of this article, it is also worth taking a closer look at some of the particular difficulties solicitors tend to come up against, such as: the need to be aware of short limitation periods, the applicability of limitation periods to claims in equity, and the importance of identifying the point from which time runs.

Short limitation periods

While 3, 6, or 12 years are the limitation periods for many claims, a number of statutes provide for shorter limitation periods. Take for example the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1959 (Cth) under which the right to damages is extinguished if an action is not brought within two years after the date of arrival of the aircraft at the destination, or, where the aircraft did not arrive at the destination, the date on which the aircraft ought to have arrived at the destination; or the date on which the carriage stopped, whichever is the later.

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