Final Form of New NS Limitation of Actions Act: “Sudden Death” Limitation is Out for Personal Injury Claims
February 18, 2015
By Danielle Kershaw, at McInnes Cooper
The new NS Limitations of Actions Act – the legislation that determines the limitation period (time limit) in which a lawsuit must be started in relation to a NS claim – is now in final form and passed as law though it’s not yet in effect. The final form of the new Act includes one important change from the version the NS Government first introduced: the opportunity and authority to extend the limitation period is back in – and the “Sudden Death” limitation is out – but only for personal injury claims.
On November 20, 2014, the NS Government enacted into law the final form of Bill 64, which will replace the current NS Limitation of Actions Act. The new Act isn’t yet in effect – and we don’t know when it will take effect – but when it does, it will significantly change the landscape for NS litigants. On October 29, 2014, the NS Government first introduced Bill 64. To read about the impact of the new Act, read McInnes Cooper’s: NS Proposes New Limitation Of Actions Act – The 3 Top Benefits & The 10 Key Changes here. The final form of the Act has a single – but very important – change from the version the NS Government first introduced:
Now. Under the Act that’s in effect right now (and which will apply until the new Act takes effect) a claimant who misses the applicable limitation period can apply to a judge to extend the limitation period for up to four additional years, and judges have the authority to do so. Section 3 of the current Act sets out the factors the court will consider when determining whether it’s appropriate to extend the limitation period. The extension opportunity and authority isn’t limited to a particular type of claim so for most claims, the maximum limitation period is, practically, 10 years: the current six-year standard limitation period plus a four-year extension.
The First Version. The version of the new Act the NS Government first introduced in October 2014 completely eliminated this opportunity and authority to extend the limitation period – so when the limitation period was over, it was really over. Since the first version (and the final form) of the new Act reduced the limitation period for most claims to two years, this would have, practically, reduced the maximum limitation period for most claims from 10 to two years.
The Final Form. The final form of the new Act adds the opportunity and the authority to extend the limitation period back in – but only for personal injury claims, and only by up to two additional years. Section 12 of the final form of the Act also adds back the factors the court will consider in determining whether it’s appropriate to extend a limitation period, with two new ones: the strength of the claimant’s case and any alternative remedy or compensation available to the claimant. The others are substantially the same as those in section 3 of the current Act. We won’t know whether the new factors will make it easier or harder for claimants to get a limitation period for a personal injury claim extended until the courts consider them, but at first blush they create additional hurdles, making it harder to get an extension. Since the new Act limits personal injury claims to two years, the new maximum limitation period will be, practically, four years (the two-year standard limitation period plus a two-year extension):longer than the first version, and longer than all other types of claims to which the Sudden Death limitation applies – but much shorter than the situation right now.
Please contact your McInnes Cooper lawyer or any member of our McInnes Cooper Insurance Defence Team or our Litigation Team to discuss this topic or any other legal issue.
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