Law Society: Time to evaluate time limits on raising court actions

The Law Society of Scotland has actually said that clearness is required on the present time limits for raising claims in court.

In its reaction to a discussion paper published by the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) on prescription law, the Law Society has said that clarity on time limitations might minimize money and time invested in raising cases which could be settled outside the courtroom.

26s5The SLC paper examined problems within the law of unfavorable prescription, which establishes the time limitation within which someone should raise a clam in court. If the time limit is missed, the ability to pursue a claim is lost.

John Paul Sheridan, convener of the commitments law sub-committee at the Law Society, said: We’re happy the Scottish Law Commission has carried out its evaluation on this location of law. At the moment there is a real absence of clearness in some cases as to when the clock will start to run.

This can cause procedures being raised which might otherwise be settled out of court and lead to unnecessary cost to the celebrations raising actions, insurance companies and the public bag by the use of judicial resources.

The SLC has actually proposed that there must be a general rule that rights and responsibilities occurring under statute should come under the five-year prescription duration. There would then have to be policy decisions made on whether there need to be specific exceptions to that rule which would enable a case to be raised within 20-year duration.

Mr. Sheridan said: Some of the statutory obligations which might be affected might consist of a commitment for a recipient of legal aid making a payment to the Scottish Legal Aid Board from property which is recovered through effective legal proceedings. Another would be a statutory obligation to pay child upkeep.


We also think that council tax would have to be taken a look at in relation to any change to time frame. At the moment a local authority can make a claim for unsettled council tax payment within a 20-year period.

If the basic guideline were to be embraced then, unless an exception was made, council tax would be captured by the five-year prescription duration.

He added: 20-year duration is not significantly longer or shorter than other legal systems and for this reason, and in the absence of any compelling reason for modification; we would support its retention for specific circumstances.

Clearness in this location of law, in addition to the possibility of standstill agreements to permit celebrations to think about the problems without the requirement for court action, would minimize the quantity of time, money and effort otherwise squandered in advancing proceedings.