Time limit for contribution runs from award of damages
There is a two-year limitation period in respect of contribution proceedings. Section 10 of the Limitation Act 1980 provides the special time limit of two years for claiming contribution. Section 10(3) says that where a judgment in civil proceedings is made, then “the relevant date will be the date upon which the judgment is given, or the date of the award.
A claimant had suffered serious injuries due to a malfunction of a lift supplied to Aer Lingus and installed by Gildacroft. The claimant obtained judgment for damages to be assessed in May 2001. In October 2003 there was judgment for the sum of £490,000.
In February 2004, Aer Lingus commenced it’s own action for contribution or indemnity under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978, well within two years of the final judgment but outside the two years from the judgment on liability alone. The issue was whether the two years ran from the date of judgment on liability or from the award of quantum.
The Court of Appeal held that the claim was not statute barred and that time ran from the quantum award.
Aer Lingus -v- Gildacroft Limited and Another. Court of Appeal, 17 January 2006, Times Law Report.
Civil Partnerships affect Fatal Accidents Act 1976
Most of the provisions of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. The Act also changed the provision of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. Civil Partners are now accorded the same status as married couples under the Fatal Accidents Act, and those living together as civil partners are given the same rights as those cohabiting as husband and wife, as are children of such a relationship.
Section 1 (3) of the Fatal Accidents Act has an amended definition of “dependant” adding:
• The Civil Partner or former Civil Partner of the deceased.
• Any person (not being a child of the deceased) who in the case of any Civil Partnership in which the deceased was at any time a Civil Partner was treated by the deceased as a child of the family in relation to that Civil Partnership.
Quick settlement competition
We recently reported a very quick settlement. How about this one:
• File opened 22 November 2005
• Proceedings issued 24 November 2005
• Proceedings served with medical report 20 December 2005
• Case settled for £1,100 6 January 2006
Perhaps not as quick as the case we reported in Leeds, which was settled within two weeks but here, we got a medical report, issued and served proceedings, and also had the Christmas break.
Who can better that?