Limitation of Certain Actions

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Limitation of Certain Actions
L.R.O.

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

Act
36 of 1997

Amended by
2 of 2000

Current Authorised Pages
Pages Authorised

(inclusive) by L.R.O.
1–18 ..

LIMITATION OF CERTAIN ACTIONS ACT

CHAPTER 7:09

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2 Chap. 7:09 Limitation of Certain Actions

Note on Subsidiary Legislation
This Chapter contains no subsidiary legislation.

Note on section 20A
See section 3 of the Limitation of Certain Actions (Amendment) Act, 2000 (Act No. 2
of 2000) for the operation of section 20A.
The reference to the year “1999” in section 20A should read “2000” since Act No. 2 of
2000 was in the year 1999 and was assented to on 13th January 2000 (which is the
date of the commencement of Act No. 2 of 2000).

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Limitation of Certain Actions Chap. 7:09 3

CHAPTER 7:09

LIMITATION OF CERTAIN ACTIONS ACT

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

SECTION

1. Short title.
2. Interpretation.
3. Limitation of actions on contract and in tort, etc.
4. Contribution between tortfeasors.
5. Limitation for personal injuries.
6. Time limit for actions under Compensation for Injuries Act.
7. Date of knowledge, etc., in sections 5 and 6.
8. Dependents subject to different periods of limitation.
9. Court’s power to override limitation periods.

10. Limitation in case of successive conversions and extinction of title of
owner of chattels.

11. Extension of limitation period in case of disabilities.
12. Fresh accrual action on acknowledgment of part payment.
13. Formal provisions as to acknowledgment and part payment.
14. Postponement of limitation period in case of fraud, mistake or

concealment.
15. Application of Act and other limitation enactments to arbitrations.
16. Provisions as to set-off or counterclaim.
17. Acquiescence.
18. Application to the State.
19. Saving for other limitation enactments.
20. Transitional.

20A. Transitional for workmen’s compensation cases.
21. Barred actions.
22. Schedules.

SCHEDULE I.
SCHEDULE II.

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LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

4 Chap. 7:09 Limitation of Certain Actions

CHAPTER 7:09

LIMITATION OF CERTAIN ACTIONS ACT

An Act to make provisions for the limitation of time for
bringing certain actions.

[17TH NOVEMBER 1997]

1. This Act may be cited as the Limitation of Certain
Actions Act.

2. (1) In this Act—
“action” means any civil proceedings in a Court of law other than

those relating to real property;
“arbitration agreement” has the same meaning that it has in the

Arbitration Act;
“personal estate” and “personal property” do not include

chattels real;
“personal injuries” includes any disease and any impairment of a

person’s physical or mental condition and “injury” and
cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly.

(2) Periods of limitation prescribed by this Act, shall be
subject to the provisions for extension or postponement of such
periods in the case of disability, acknowledgement, part payment,
fraud, concealment or mistake.

(3) For the purposes of this Act, a person shall be treated
as under a disability while he is—

(a) an infant;
(b) suffering from a mental disorder;
(c) receiving treatment as an inpatient in any mental

hospital within the meaning of the Mental Health
Act, without being liable to be detained in the
said hospital; or

(d) mentally ill within the meaning of the said Mental
Health Act.

36 of 1997.

Commencement.

Short title.

Interpretation.

Ch. 5:01.

Ch. 28:02.

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(4) In furtherance of subsection (3), the “treatment” shall
be such that follows without any interval, a period during which
the person was liable to be detained in the mental hospital in
accordance with that Act.

3. (1) The following actions shall not be brought after the
expiry of four years from the date on which the cause of action
accrued, that is to say:

(a) actions founded on contract (other than a contract
made by deed) on quasi-contract or in tort;

(b) actions to enforce the award of an arbitrator given
under an arbitration agreement (other than an
agreement made by deed); or

(c) actions to recover any sum recoverable by virtue
of any enactment.

(2) An action shall not be brought upon any judgment
after the expiry of twelve years from the final judgment and no
arrears of interest in respect of any judgment debt, shall be
recovered after the expiry of twelve years from the date of the
final judgment.

(3) This section shall not apply to any—
(a) claim for specific performance of a contract or

for an injunction or for other equitable relief;
(b) action to which section 8 applies; or
(c) action under the Compensation for Injuries Act.

4. (1) Where an action for damages is brought as result of a
tort and a tortfeasor (in this section referred to as “the first
tortfeasor”) is entitled to recover a contribution in respect of the
damages from another tortfeasor who is not a party to the action,
no action to recover such contribution shall be brought by the first
tortfeasor after a period of two years from the date on which the
first tortfeasor is held liable for the damages by a judgment given
in civil proceedings or an award made by an arbitrator.

(2) Where the first tortfeasor admits liability in favour of
one or more persons in respect of damages, the date on which his

Limitation of
actions on
contract and in
tort, etc.

Ch. 8:05.

Contribution
between
tortfeasors.

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right to recover a contribution accrues, is the earliest date on which
the amount to be paid by him in discharge of that liability is agreed
upon by or on behalf of the first tortfeasor and that person or each
or those persons, as the case may be.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2), no account shall
be taken of any judgment or award given or made on appeal in so
far as it varies the amount of damages awarded against the
first tortfeasor.

5. (1) Subject to subsection (6), this section applies to any
action for damages for negligence, nuisance or breach of duty
whether the duty exists by virtue of a contract or any enactment or
independently of any contract or any such enactment where the
damages claimed by the plaintiff for the negligence, nuisance or
breach of duty consist of or include damages in respect of personal
injuries to the plaintiff or any other person.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), an action to which this
section applies shall not be brought after the expiry of four
years from—

(a) the date on which the cause of action accrued; or
(b) the date on which the person injured first acquired

knowledge of the accrual of the cause of action.
(3) Where the person injured dies before the expiry of

the period prescribed by subsection (2), the period with respect to
the survival of the cause of action for the benefit of the estate of
the deceased by virtue of section 28 of the Supreme Court of
Judicature Act, shall be four years from—

(a) the date of death; or
(b) the date on which the personal representative first

acquired knowledge of the accrual of the cause
of action whichever is the later.

(4) Where there is more than one personal representative
and their dates of knowledge are different, subsection (3) shall be
construed as referring to the earlier or earliest of those dates.

(5) For the purposes of this section “personal
representative” includes any person who is or has been a

Limitation for
personal
injuries.

Ch. 4:01.

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personal representative of the deceased and regard shall be had
to any knowledge acquired by any such person while being a
personal representative.

(6) This section does not apply to an action under the
Compensation for Injuries Act.

6. (1) An action under the Compensation for Injuries Act
shall not be brought if the death occurred when the injured person
could no longer maintain an action and recover damages in respect
of the injury, because of a time limit in this Act or in any other
enactment or for any other reason.

(2) Where any such action by the injured person would
have been barred by the time limit in section 8, no account shall,
for the purposes of this subsection, be taken of the possibility of
that time limit being overridden under section 11.

(3) An action under the Compensation for Injuries Act
shall not be brought after the expiry of four years from—

(a) the date of death; or
(b) the date of knowledge of the person for whose

benefit the action is brought whichever is later.
(4) This section has effect subject to section 11.

7. (1) In this Act, a person first acquired knowledge when
he first became aware of any of the following facts:

(a) that the injury in question was significant;
(b) that injury was attributable in whole or in part to

the act or omission which is alleged to constitute
negligence, nuisance or breach of duty;

(c) the identity of the defendant;
(d) where it is alleged that the act or omission was

that of a person other than the defendant, the
identity of that person and the additional facts
supporting the bringing of an action against the
defendant; and knowledge that any act or omission
did or did not, as a matter of law, involve
negligence, nuisance or breach of duty is irrelevant.

Time limit for
actions under
Compensation
for Injuries Act.
Ch. 8:05.

Date of
knowledge, etc.,
in sections 5
and 6.

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(2) For the purposes of this section an injury is significant
if the person would reasonably have considered it sufficiently
serious to justify his instituting proceedings against a defendant
who did not dispute liability and was able to satisfy a judgment.

(3) For the purposes of this section a person’s knowledge
includes knowledge which he might reasonably be expected
to acquire—

(a) from facts observable or ascertainable by him; or
(b) from facts ascertainable by him with the help of

such medical or other expert advice as it is
reasonable for him to seek,

but there shall not be attributed to a person by virtue of this
subsection, knowledge of a fact ascertainable only with the help
of expert advice so long as he has taken all reasonable steps to
obtain that advice and where appropriate to act on that advice.

8. (1) This section applies where there is more than one
person for whose benefit an action under the Compensation for
Injuries Act is brought.

(2) Section 9(3) shall be applied separately to each of
them and if its application would debar one or more of them, but
not all, the Court shall direct that any person who would be so
debarred shall be excluded from those for whom the action is
brought unless it is shown that if the action was brought exclusively
for the benefit of that person, it would not be defeated by a defence
of limitation whether because of section 11 or an agreement
between the parties not to raise the defence or otherwise.

9. (1) Where it appears to the Court that it would be
inequitable to allow an action to proceed having regard to the degree
to which—

(a) the provisions of section 5 or 6 prejudice the
plaintiff or any person whom he represents; and

(b) any decision of the Court under this subsection
would prejudice the defendant or any person
whom he represents,

Dependents
subject to
different periods
of limitation.
Ch. 8:05.

Court’s power to
override
limitation
periods.

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the Court may direct that those provisions shall not apply to the
action or to any specified cause of action to which the action relates.

(2) The Court shall not give a direction under this section,
in which the provisions of section 6 are not applied except where
the reason why the person injured could no longer maintain an
action was because of the time limit established by section 5.

(3) In acting under this section the Court shall have regard
to all the circumstances of the case and in particular to—

(a) the length of, and the reasons for, the delay on
the part of the plaintiff;

(b) the extent to which, having regard to the delay,
the evidence adduced or likely to be adduced by
the plaintiff or the defendant is or is likely to be
less cogent than if the action had been brought
within the time allowed by section 8 or, as the
case may be, section 9;

(c) the conduct of the defendant after the cause of
action arose, including the extent to which he
responded to requests reasonably made by the
plaintiff for information or inspection for the
purpose of ascertaining facts which were or might
be relevant to the plaintiff’s cause of action against
the defendant;

(d) the duration of any disability of the plaintiff
arising after the date of the accrual of the cause
of action; or

(e) the extent to which the plaintiff acted promptly
and reasonably once he knew whether or not the
defendant’s act or omission to which the injury
was attributable, might be capable at that time of
giving rise to an action for damages;

(f) the steps, if any, taken by the plaintiff to obtain
medical, legal or other expert advice and the
nature of any such advice he may have received.

(4) In a case where the person injured died when, because
of section 5, he could no longer maintain an action and recover

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damages in respect of the injury, the Court shall have regard in
particular to the length of, and the reasons for, the delay on the
part of the deceased.

(5) In a case under subsection (4) or any other case where
the time limit, or one of the time limits, depends on the date of
knowledge of a person other than the plaintiff, subsection (3) shall
have effect with appropriate modifications, and shall have effect
in particular as if the references to the plaintiff included references
to any person whose date of knowledge is or was relevant in
determining a time limit.

(6) A direction of the Court disapplying the provisions of
section 6(1) shall also operate to disapply the provisions to the
same effect in section 3 of the Compensation for Injuries Act.

(7) In this section “the Court” means the Court in which
the action has been brought.

(8) References in this section to sections 5 and 6 include
references to those sections as extended by or under the provisions
of this Act.

10. (1) Where any cause of action in respect of the conversion
or wrongful detention of a chattel has accrued to any person and
before he recovers possession of the chattel, a further conversion
or wrongful detention takes place, no action shall be brought in
respect of the further conversion or wrongful detention after the
expiry of four years from the accrual of the cause of action, in
respect of the original conversion or detention.

(2) Where any such cause of action has accrued to any
person and the period prescribed for bringing that action and for
bringing any action in respect of such a further conversion or
wrongful detention as aforesaid has expired and he has not during
that period recovered possession of the chattel, the title of that
person to the chattel shall be extinguished.

(3) For the purposes of this section no account shall be
taken of any cause of action which accrued before the
commencement of this Act.

Ch. 8:05.

Limitation in
case of
successive
conversions and
extinction of
title of owner of
chattels.

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Limitation of Certain Actions Chap. 7:09 11

11. (1) Where on the date when any right of action of which
a period of limitation is prescribed by this Act accrues, the person
to whom it accrues is under a disability, the action may be brought
at any time before the expiry of four years from the date when the
person ceased to be under a disability or died, whichever first
occurred, notwithstanding that the period of limitation has expired.

(2) Subsection (1) shall have effect in the case of actions
to which section 4(1) applies, with the substitution of words “two
years” for the words “four years”.

(3) This section shall not affect any case where the right
of action first accrued to some person not under a disability through
whom the person under a disability claims.

(4) Where a right of action which has accrued to a person
under a disability accrues on the death of that person while still
under a disability, to another person under a disability; no further
extension of time shall be allowed under this section by reason of
the disability of the second person.

12. (1) Where there has accrued any right of action of a
mortgagee of personal property to bring a foreclosure action in
respect of such property, and the person liable for the mortgage
debt makes any payment in respect thereof, whether of principal
or interest, the right shall be deemed to have accrued on and not
before the date of the acknowledgment or payment.

(2) Where any right of action has accrued to recover any
debt or other liquidated pecuniary claim, or any claim to the
personal estate of a deceased person or to any share or interest
therein, and the person liable or accountable therefor acknowledges
the claim or makes any payment in respect thereof, the right shall
be deemed to have accrued on and not before the date of the
acknowledgment or payment.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (2), a payment of a part
of any interest that is due at any time shall not extend the period
for claiming the remainder then due, and any payment of interest
shall be treated as a payment in respect of the principal debt.

Extension of
limitation period
in case of
disabilities.

Fresh accrual
action on
acknowledgment
of part payment.

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(4) Subject to subsection (3), a current period of limitation
may be repeatedly extended under this section by further
acknowledgments or payments, but a right of action, once barred
by this Act, shall not be revived by any subsequent acknowledgment
or payment.

13. For the purposes of this Act—
(a) an acknowledgment shall be in writing and signed

by the person making the acknowledgment; and
(b) an acknowledgment or payment shall be

evidenced by writing and may be made by the
agent of the person by whom it is required to be
made and shall be made to the person, or to an
agent of the person, whose title or claim is being
acknowledged or, as the case may be, in respect
of whose debt the payment is being made.

14. (1) Subject to subsection (3), where in the case of any
action for which a period of limitation is prescribed by this
Act, either—

(a) the action is based upon the fraud of the
defendant;

(b) any fact relevant to the plaintiff’s right of action
was deliberately concealed from him by the
defendant; or

(c) the action is for relief from the consequences of
a mistake,

the period of limitation shall not begin to run until the plaintiff has
discovered the fraud, concealment or mistake (as the case may be)
or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), deliberate
commission of a breach of duty in circumstances in which it is
unlikely to be discovered for some time, amounts to deliberate
concealment of the facts involved in that breach of duty.

(3) Nothing in this section shall enable any action—
(a) to recover, or recover the value of, any personal

property; or

Formal
provisions as to
acknowledgment
and part
payment.

Postponement of
limitation period
in case of fraud,
mistake or
concealment.

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Limitation of Certain Actions Chap. 7:09 13

(b) to enforce any charge against, or set aside any
transaction affecting, any personal property,

to be brought against the purchaser of the property or any person
claiming through him in any case where the property has been
purchased for valuable consideration by an innocent third party
since the fraud or concealment or (as the case may be) the
transaction in which the mistake was made took place.

(4) A purchaser is an innocent third party for the purposes
of this section—

(a) in the case of fraud or concealment of any fact
relevant to the plaintiff’s right of action, if he was
not a party to the fraud or (as the case may be) to
the concealment of that fact and did not at the
time of the purchase know or have reason to
believe that the fraud or concealment had taken
place; and

(b) in the case of mistake, if he did not at the time of
the purchase know or have reason to believe that
the mistake had been made.

(5) References in this section to the defendant include
references to the defendant’s agent and to any person through whom
the defendant claims and his agent.

15. (1) This Act and any other enactment relating to the
limitation of actions shall apply to arbitrations as it applies to actions
in the High Court.

(2) Notwithstanding any term in an arbitration agreement
to the effect that no cause of action shall accrue in respect of any
matter required by the agreement to be referred until an award is
made under the agreement, the cause of action shall for the
purpose of this Act and any such enactment (whether in their
application to arbitrations or to other proceedings) be deemed to
have accrued in respect of any such matter at the time when it
would have accrued but for that term in the agreement.

Application of
Act and other
limitation
enactments to
arbitrations.

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14 Chap. 7:09 Limitation of Certain Actions

(3) For the purpose of this Act and of any such enactment
as aforesaid an arbitration shall be deemed to have commenced—

(a) when one party to the arbitration serves on the
other party a notice requiring him to appoint an
arbitrator or to agree to the appointment of an
arbitrator; or

(b) where an arbitration agreement provides that the
reference shall be to a person named or designated
when notice is served in the agreement, requiring
him to submit the dispute to the person so named
or designated.

(4) Any such notice may be served either—
(a) by delivering it to the person on whom it is to

be served;
(b) by leaving it at the usual or last known place of

abode of that person in the State; or
(c) by sending it by post in a registered letter

addressed to that person at his usual or last known
place of abode in the State, as well as in any other
manner provided in the arbitration agreement.

(5) Where a notice is sent by post in the manner prescribed
by subsection (4)(c), service thereof shall, unless the contrary is
proved, be deemed to have been effected at the time at which the
letter would have been delivered in the ordinary course of post.

(6) Where the High Court orders that an award be set
aside, after the commencement of an arbitration, or orders that the
arbitration agreement shall cease to have effect with respect to the
dispute referred, the Court may further order that the period between
the commencement of the arbitration and the date of the order of
the Court, shall be excluded in computing the time prescribed by
this Act or any such enactment as aforesaid for the commencement
of proceedings (including arbitration) with respect to the
dispute referred.

(7) This section applies to an arbitration under an Act as
well as to an arbitration pursuant to an arbitration agreement, and

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Limitation of Certain Actions Chap. 7:09 15

subsections (3) and (4) shall have effect in relation to an arbitration
under an Act, as if for the references to the arbitration agreement
there were substituted references to such of the provisions of the
Act or of any instrument made thereunder as relate to the arbitration.

16. For the purposes of this Act, any claim by way of set-off
or counterclaim shall be deemed to be a separate action and to
have been commenced on the same date as the action in which the
set-off or counterclaim is pleaded.

17. Nothing in this Act shall affect any equitable jurisdiction
to refuse relief on the ground of acquiescence or otherwise.

18. (1) Except as is otherwise provided by this Act and
without prejudice to section 19 this Act applies to proceedings by
or against the State in like manner as it applies to proceedings
between citizens.

(2) This Act does not apply to any proceedings by the State
for the recovery of any tax or duty or interest thereon or to any forfeiture
proceedings under the enactments relating to Customs or Excise.

(3) For the purposes of this section proceedings by or
against the State includes “proceedings instituted by or against an
officer or other agent of the State” in his official capacity.

19. With the exception of section 6(1), this Act does not apply
to any action or arbitration for which a period of limitation is
prescribed by or under any enactment or to any action or arbitration
to which the State is a party and for which if it were between
citizens, a period of limitation would be prescribed by or under
any other enactment.

20. (1) This Act does not apply to any action brought upon a
right of action which accrued before the commencement of this Act.

(2) The enactments listed in Schedule II shall apply as
appropriate to any action or arbitration whether commenced
before or after the commencement of this Act as if those
enactments had not been repealed and as if the amendments in
Schedule I had not been made.

Provisions as to
set-off or
counterclaim.

Acquiescence.

Application to
the State.

Saving for other
limitation
enactments.

Transitional.

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(3) Where a right of action becomes barred after the
commencement of this Act by an enactment which applies to it by
virtue of subsection (2), no subsequent acknowledgment or
payment shall be effective to revive it.

(4) For the purposes of section 10, no account shall be
taken of any cause of action which accrued before the
commencement of this Act.

*20A. Section 4 of the Limitation of Certain Actions
(Amendment) Act, 1999 shall not apply to any action under section
4(3) and any claim under section 11(1) of the Workmen’s
Compensation Act, brought upon a right of action which accrued
before the commencement of the Act first named in this section.

21. Nothing in this Act shall enable any action to be brought
which was barred before the commencement of this Act by any
enactment repealed by this Act or which is barred after the
commencement of this Act by any such enactment which applies
under section 18(3).

22. (1) The Acts listed in the second column of Schedule I
are amended to the extent described in the third column of that
Schedule.

(2) The Acts listed in the second column of Schedule II
are repealed in whole or in part as described in the third column of
that Schedule.

Transitional for
workmen’s
compensation
cases.
Ch. 88.05.

Barred actions.

Schedules.

*See Note on page 2.

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SCHEDULE I

AMENDMENTS

[Section 22 (1)].

Chapter and
Number

Short Title Amendments

Ch. 8:05

Ch. 5:01

Ch. 88:05

The Compensation
for Injuries Act

The Arbitration Act

The Workmen’s
Compensation Act

In section 2 insert the following
subsection immediately after
subsection (3):

“ (4) Any reference in this
Act to injury includes any
disease and any impairment
of a person’s physical or
mental condition”.

(i) In subsection (5) of
section 24 for the
words “but without
prejudice to the
foregoing provisions
of this section”
substitute the words
“ b u t w i t h o u t
prejudice to the
provisions of any
enactment limiting
the time for the
commencement of
arbitration pro-
ceedings”.

(ii) renumber sec-
t ion 24(5) as
section 24.

(i) in subsection (3) of
section 4, delete the
words “one year”
and substitute the
words “four years”;
and

(ii) in subsection (1) of
section 11, delete the
words “six months”
and substitute the
words “one year”.

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

MINISTRY OF LEGAL AFFAIRS www.legalaffairs.gov.tt

LAWS OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

18 Chap. 7:09 Limitation of Certain Actions

SCHEDULE II

REPEALS

Chapter and
Number

Short Title Extent of Repeal

Ch. 8:05

Ch. 5 No. 6.

Ch. 29:50

Ch. 5:01

Ch. 8:03

The Compensation
for Injuries Act

The Limitation of Personal
Actions Ordinance

The Medical Board Act

The Arbitration Act

The Public Authorities
Protection Act

Subsection (1) of section 5

The whole Ordinance

Section 27

Section 24 except subsection (5)
thereof

The whole Act

[Section 22(2)].

UNOFFICIAL VERSION


UPDATED TO DECEMBER 31ST 2014

MINISTRY OF LEGAL AFFAIRS www.legalaffairs.gov.tt