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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
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.
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