Limitations Amendment Bill 2017
The Government is seeking your feedback on the Limitations Amendment Bill 2017. The Bill proposes the following changes to the Limitation Act 1974:
- Abolition of any limitation period for personal injury claim arising from physical or sexual abuse that occurred when the plaintiff was a minor. This reform is in accordance with the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and reforms made by Victoria to give effect to recommendations made by the Family and Community Development Committee of the Victorian Parliament in its Betrayal of Trust Report. This change recognises the special circumstances of cases arising from sexual or physical abuse of a child, in particular the fact that many survivors are not able to disclose the abuse until well into adulthood;
- Abolition of the long-stop period of 12 years (section 5A(3)(b)). This change removes the need for a plaintiff, who may have recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, from having to overcome the additional hurdle of seeking leave from the court to bring an action;
- Provision for a Court to have discretion to extend the limitation period for a further three years after the expiration of the period referred to in section 5A(3)(a) (i.e. three years from the date of discoverability). To prevent an unfair impact on defendants, the application for a further three year extension will apply only to matters that are still within the initial limitation period. This will prevent the change impacting on court cases where a defendant has relied on a statutory limitation defence. In addition it will prevent insurance claims being revived in circumstances where a reserve is no longer held against a potential claim, thereby preventing any impact on future insurance availability or premiums;
- Clarification to provisions relating to the extension of time for persons with a disability so that:
- running of time is suspended if the prospective plaintiff is under a disability for a significant portion of the limitation period unless the plaintiff is in the care of a capable parent or has a legal representative (who is not a person in a ‘close relationship’ with the defendant);
- the knowledge of the parent or legal representative of a person who is under a disability is deemed to be the knowledge of the plaintiff for the purpose of determining the date of discoverability;
- Provide for consequential and transitional provisions necessary to give effect to the above amendments. The consequential amendments include the repeal of section 5, the pre-2004 limitation period for personal injuries, which no longer has application.
Download the Limitations Amendment Bill 2017 (PDF, 12 pages, 203KB).
Please send your comments on the Bill to the Department of Justice by 4 October 2017.
Department of Justice
Office of Strategic Legislation and Policy
GPO Box 825
Hobart TAS 7001