November 3, 2014
Note: On November 20, 2014 the NS Government passed the final form of Bill 64, Limitations of Actions Act into law. The final form of the Act differs from the first proposed version. Read about it in McInnes Cooper’s: Final Form of New NS Limitation of Actions Act – “Sudden Death” Limitation is Out for Personal Injury Claims.
On October 29, 2014, the NS Government introduced Bill 64. When passed into law, Bill 64 will replace the current NS Limitation of Actions Act – the legislation that determines the limitation period (time limit) in which a lawsuit must be started in relation to an NS claim – and significantly change the landscape for NS litigants.
Bill 64 is in 2nd reading only, but given its impact on litigants, it’s one to keep a close eye on. Here are the top 3 benefits of Bill 64 – and the 10 key changes it will make to the time limits to start a lawsuit in NS.
Bill 64 will take effect on a date the Government will set later, although it will likely allow a period of time so people can plan for the transition. When it does take effect, it will have an impact on existing claims and deliver some benefits to all litigants, particularly to those in the kinds of businesses frequently involved in litigation.
Existing Claims. The limitation period for claims based on acts or omissions that occurred before Bill 64 takes effect will be the earlier of:
Bill 64 doesn’t apply to claims made by parties within an ongoing legal proceeding as long as the claim is sufficiently related to it. Those with – or facing – an existing or potential claim should keep an eye on whether and how the proposed changes will affect those existing claims. People should promptly review the effect of the proposed changes on any existing or potential claims and take appropriate action.
Top 3 Benefits. If passed into law, Bill 64 also has the potential to deliver some benefits to litigants. Here are the top three:
10 KEY CHANGES
Here are the 10 key changes Bill 64 will make:
Bill 64 does have some exceptions; the main ones are:
Minors and Incapacity. Under the current Act, there are no time limits for any claims involving children (people under 19) and the limitation periods only start to run when a claimant reaches 19; similarly, they donot run while a claimant is incapable of bringing a claim due to incapacity. Bill 64 does not change these, but simplifies the language. However, under the current Act, the limitation period in these circumstances is five years; Bill 64 will reduce this to the general two year limitation period.
Government Claims. The two year general limitation period does not apply to certain claims by the Province, although it does apply to all claims against the Province.
Other Laws. Limitation periods contained in other laws (such as the NS Insurance Act) will prevail over the new Limitation of Actions Act. So, for example, the three-year limitation period for claims against an insurer for indemnification of an insured for loss, damage, or injury to a third party arising from a motor vehicle accident will remain intact.
Land. Bill 64 will not apply in respect of claims involving interests in land. The Bill amends the current Limitations of Actions Act to the “Limitations of Actions in Respect of Real Property Act” and repeals all sections not dealing with land. Therefore, the current 20-year limitation period respecting land or rent also remains intact.
McInnes Cooper has prepared this document for information only; it is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult McInnes Cooper about your unique circumstances before acting on this information. McInnes Cooper excludes all liability for anything contained in this document and any use you make of it.
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