Watch Out for Time Limits

In law there are lots of time limits.  For instance, as far as wills are concerned, death really means “put down your pen and stop writing”, as many a disappointed beneficiary will know.

As a general rule you have six years to commence court action or you are “out of time”.  This is applied very strictly so that court proceedings are not delayed allowing memories to fade, evidence to disappear or people to be vexed by old claims. 

However, there are all sorts of exceptions.

You have three years to make a claim after an accident and injury.  In the case of injuries to children, the limitation period usually only starts when they become 18 years old, which can be very upsetting for teachers. 

For relatives going missing, you may wait seven years before they are declared dead.  Therefore, it is essential not to mislay rich relatives. 

A claim by a person left out of a will can be subject to a time limit of a few months.

Employment legislation is quite scatty: 14 days, a month, 3 days, 5 hours and 45 minutes, they seem to change it with every new bit of legislation. 

Unsportingly, there is no time limit for murder of, say, other drivers, whereas the Tax Office usually has something suitably sneaky like 12 months for a tax reclaim. 

Judges may be tempted to do justice and get around time limits in deserving cases, encouraged by lawyers who are forever missing time limits and making rushed court applications to extend time.  However, such applications are usually unsuccessful leaving clients to sue their lawyers for the loss.

So, as far as time limits are concerned, watch it or you may miss out.



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