“You may delay, but time will not, and lost time is never found again.”
Taking prompt action
If you have a claim against someone it is very important that you take prompt action to obtain your remedy.
Many matters are time limited by legislation. Whilst the number of matters which are time restricted are numerous some of the more common include:
- You must commence a property application within 12 months of a divorce;
- Recovery of debts must commence within 6 years of the debt becoming due and payable; and
- An application for unfair dismissal must be lodged within 21 days of the dismissal.
Whilst an application may be made to have the time limits extended, it will require very good reasons to explain the delay and usually result in incurring legal costs. With debt if a debtor has made a part payment even after 6 years the time will extend a further 6 years from that payment.
In cases where a unreasonable delay has occurred and you have neglected without reasonable excuse a defendant may rely upon the equitable defence of latches. In such a defence the court will consider the actions of a party and whether or not a claim that has been brought to court has been made after an unreasonable time such that it allowed the defendant to reasonably assume due to the delay that the matter had been finalised. The court will need to be convinced by the defendant that:
- The plaintiff knew of the legal remedy;
- That in all of the circumstances the delay in commencing the proceeding was unreasonable;
- That the defendant had acted as a result of the delay such that to grant the plaintiff a remedy would be unfair.
It is important that any action you take to remedy any loss is taken promptly otherwise you may lose the opportunity or be subjected to higher costs if you have sufficient evidence to justify your delay. If either you or anyone you know would like to discuss going to court, please do not hesitate in contacting me.