There has been a recent flurry of decisions on limitation in the context of claims for sexual abuse.
Under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980, there is judicial discretion to disapply the limitation rules in personal injury claims. The judge should only exercise such discretion in favour of claimants if a fair trial is still possible: the judge will look at the reasons for the delay, the cogency of the evidence, and whether any detriment to the defendant prevents a fair trial.
The third and final legislative stage of the Bill to retrospectively abolish limitation for cases of personal injury arising from childhood abuse took place in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 22 June 2017.
A proposed amendment to require Scottish Ministers to prepare a financial report on the likely impact on public bodies and their ability to meet any obligations arising from the retrospective provisions of the Bill was rejected.
Following that rejection, the Bill was unanimously passed. Royal Assent to the Bill is now anticipated, whereupon it will become an Act of the Scottish Parliament. Its provisions will thereafter come into force by way of Scottish ministerial regulations.
Frank Hughes and Siobhan Kelly, partners, BLM
As the IICSA confirms the initial hearing dates for the first public hearings which form part of the investigation in to the Protection of Children Outside of the UK, the High Court has handed down a judgment which is linked to this issue as it addresses limitation when abuse has occurred overseas.
In the case of KXL and others the High Court rejected the claims and the claimants’ contentions that the Foreign Limitation Provisions Act 1984 (FLPA) conflicts with public policy and/or causes undue hardship to claimants because there is no discretionary power to extend the time limit in a historical abuse claim.