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Guidance Legal Costs Limitation Issues When is a Claim Form Deemed Issued? Many claims are now being issued out of the Northampton (CCMCC) or the Salford (CCMCC) County Courts. When ‘limitation’ is looming large in a claim, the process can be stressful and full of uncertainty, to say the least. For example, the Court is unable to inform litigants if it has even received the claim form to be issued for a week to 10 days after it was sent, and there are many stories of claim forms being returned unissued for minor, or sometimes imagined, transgressions. The purpose of this article is to provide guidance on when a claim form is issued for the purposes of the Limitation Act 1980. The Limitation Act 1980 As all practitioners will be aware, the Limitation Act 1980 ‘gives the ordinary time limits for bringing actions.’ Those ‘ordinary’ time limits can then be ‘sub- ject to extension or exclusion in accor- dance with [Part II of the Act].’ (section 1 of the 1980 Act). Part I of the Act sets out the primary limitation period for actions, effectively by dictating a period after which a claim ‘shall not be brought’. So, for example, ‘An action founded on tort shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued.’ (section 2 of the 1980 Act). Part II then sets out various exceptions to the ‘primary limitation period’. So, when considering limitation issues, practitioners need to bear two conside- rations in mind: 1. When does a ‘cause of action ac- crue’ – so that ‘time starts running’; 2. What counts as the ‘bringing of an action’ – so that it can be said the claim is ‘brought’ with in the relevant limitation period and ‘time stops running’? 18 When and how a cause of action ac- crues is, of itself, a topic worthy of a whole book. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider the topic in any detail. Instead, I will concentrate on when a claim is ‘brought’. When is a Claim ‘Brought’ for the Purposes of the Limitation Act There are two scenarios to consider. The first is an ‘originating claim’ (my phrase) brought by, say, an injured wor- ker for damages for personal injury or an aggrieved party in a contractual dis- pute. This is the type of claim the vast majority of Claimants bring, and the scenario dealt with in this article. The second scenario is ‘new claims’ brought in existing proceedings. Exam- ples of this type of claim are: Third Party Proceedings; the additional or substitution of new causes of action; the addition or substitution of a new party. I will not deal with these. In the main, ‘new claims’ are deemed to have been commenced on the same date as the originating claim. The notable exception being Third Party Procee- dings, which are deemed to have been brought on the date those proceedings were commenced. Practitioners inter- ested in this area should consider fur- ther section 35 of the 1980 Act. Originating Claims The 1980 Act does not define when a claim is ‘brought’. At first sight, this omission seems rather strange. It has, however, been left to the rules of Court to determine when a claim is ‘brought’. CPR 7.2 states that, 1. Proceedings are started when the court issues a claim form at the request of the Claimant; 2. A claim form is issued on the date entered on the form by the Court. The failure to use the word ‘brought’ by the rule makers is unfortunate. Howe- ver, the intention is clear. The claim is ‘brought’ when it is issued because that it when proceedings are ‘started’. So, ostensibly, a claim is ‘brought’ on the day it is issued by the Court and ‘time stops running’ then. However, there is an exception to this in cases where limitation is an issue. Paragraph 5 of Practice Direction 7A states, so far as relevant: 5.1…where the claim form as issued was received in the court office on a date earlier than the date on which it was issued by the court, the claim is