Consumer champ Len Dastard tackles The Limitation Act 1980

Hola amigos. It is I, Len Dastard, real life litigation executive with a fictional wrestling alter-ego. I won’t lie to you; it was a late night in the Cabo San Lucas with too many Coronas, tequila slammers and señoras atractivas. Today I need time to recover. What better way than helping you get to grips with The Limitation Act 1980. Déjenos comenzar…

The Limitation Act 1980 outlines the specific time limits in which someone is able (or, not able) to bring a claim against someone.

One of the most common uses of the Limitation Act 1980 is in respect of unsecured debts. At the end of this post I will list the current time limits for certain claims but this piece will primarily deal with unsecured debts.

Under the Limitation Act 1980 if no contact has been made between the creditor and the debtor for more than 6 years the creditor may be “statue barred” from pursuing their claim. There are some exceptions to this time period and this could be:

• There is a County Court Judgment outstanding against the debt and the Creditor has requested the permission (and had this granted) of the Court to enforce this debt.

• Payment has been made against the debt in the past 6 years. The effect of this is that the limitation period of 6 years “kicks in” again.

• The debtor has contacted the creditor to acknowledge that the debt exists or asked a question about the debt without categorically denying the debt exists. Limitation once again kicks in from this acknowledgment.

If you want to avoid the debt the important point to note is to not admit to owing the debt. Instead you must reply to them and quote The Limitations Act 1980 and inform them that you believe they are statute barred. If they do not accept this as a reason for the debt not owing you must ask them to provide any evidence that they would intend to rely on.

The Limitation Act 1980 is used as a total defence to proceedings and if it is not used then the claim will proceed. If the creditor does not provide proof that the debt remains but continues to write to you it is worth stating that you might consider a claim of harassment contrary to Section 40(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1970.

The following is a list of claims with their general limitation period. Please remember that there are other issues that need to be considered and this is only a guide.

Type of Claim - General limitation period
Recovery of land - 6 years
Recovery of money secured by mortgage - 12 years
Recovery of arrears of rent and consequential damage - 6 years
Simple contract - 6 years
Personal injury - 3 years
Fatal Accidents Claim 1976 - 3 years
Defamation - 1 year
Human Rights Act claim against public authority - 1 year

Whilst I appreciate that it might not seem fair that debts cannot be pursued under The Limitations Act 1980 it is in place for a reason. Sometimes dormant claims would have more cruelty than justice in that the debtor may have disposed of their paperwork some time ago and therefore it would be very difficult for them to disprove any claim.

Have you ever needed to rely on The Limitation Act 1980 or been unfortunate to have it used against you? Get in contact with us – [email protected]


  • andy y.
    So if I called you twat one year and one day ago can't take my house?
  • Len D.
    Hi Andy - if you called me a twat I could not sue you irrespective of limitation as "fair comment" is a defence to defamation.
  • Andy D.
    Len, you're a twat.
  • Stu_
    In fairness, if you go over to the loans and credit cards section of MSE, you'll find people use this all the time. in addition, they also use the "credit agreements" ruse too.
  • charitynjw
    Statue barred? lol

What do you think?

Your comment