COVID Bars Commercial Claims

19 APR 2021


Throughout the course of the last 12 months, all aspects of our social and professional lives have been consumed by COVID-19. 

Businesses have suffered an economic downturn, employees have lost their jobs and the leasing industry has been in a state of confusion. These are just a few examples of those impacted by the pandemic. 

What this means for you?  

In progressing through the fog that is and has been COVID-19, you may have forgotten about legal claims you are entitled to, or even neglected to pursue a new legal claim arising out of the pandemic. 

If you have let your potential claim simmer in the background during this time and thought you might wait out the current COVID-19 world to see what emerges at the other end, there is the risk that your claim may now be statute barred.

Is your claim barred? 

In determining whether you are barred from pursuing your commercial claim, you must first consider whether the limitation period on your claim has expired. 

A limitation period is the period of time within which a civil commercial action must be commenced. If you fail to file your claim within this time, then your action is lost and may never be able to be recovered. 

The Limitation Act provides a formula for calculating limitation periods that is applicable to most commercial causes of action. 

For example, for actions involving breaches of contract, negligence and/or misleading and deceptive conduct, ordinarily a six year time limit applies. However, different types of claims attract different timeframes for their commencement.

The time limits imposed by the Act are strict timeframes and are not generally extended. 

It is possible to seek an extension of a limitation period in some (and very limited) circumstances. These may include: 

  • causes of action where a person is operating under a disability;
  • causes of action involving fraud or deceit; and
  • causes of action arising out of a fundamental mistake. 

What Marsdens can do for you?

If you have grounds for a legal claim, or believe that you may have grounds for a legal claim, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible to preserve the cause of action within the time limit for that specific claim. If you miss the boat, it will sail without you.    

If you have any questions or concerns about a limitation period in respect of your civil commercial claim, please contact Aaran Johnson or Bharath Balasubramanian on 02 9233 1133 or 02 4626 5077 for an initial discussion. 

The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.    

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