Legal Time Limits – Keep Within Them Or Lose Your Claim

In the following case a homeowner thought he had a claim for £800,000 in damages from his neighbour, but lost his claim for falling foul of the strict time limits that litters the legal system, thereby highlighting the need for caution and good legal advice.

The property owner believed that the two years of building work his neighbours, who were creating a basement extension, had undertaken had been so unbearable that he and his family had no choice but to live elsewhere for 16 weeks. He also believed that significant damage had been inflicted on his property.

An independent surveyor was asked to look at the case using the Party Wall etc Act and his decision was that the damages were limited to £55,001 as there had only been limited damage and while the inconvenience did not justify the cost of alternative accommodation.

The property owner contested that decision, and a judge accepted that he had done so within the 14 day time constraint, and therefore the neighbour’s point that the claim was out of time was unfounded and refused permission for any further hearings.

The Neighbour sought help from the Court of Appeal who discovered that as the award was emailed, compliant with all legal requirements, to the property owner and the receipt of that is when the time limit could start from. Given those facts he had fallen foul of those time constraints and his claim was deemed to be out of time. The result was that the property owner  had to pay all the legal costs of the case which was significantly more than the damages more than the previous award.

If you would like more information on the subject of claiming for damages then please contact us by telephone at our Corby office on 01536 276300 or call our Kettering office on 01536 311690 or simply get in touch online by clicking here.