Reed Smith Client Alert

Authors: Craig R. Enochs Greg Chase Simon Jones Stephen A. Kirkpatrick Thor Maalouf


A “limitation period” is the period of time within which court or arbitration proceedings must be commenced. Every legal claim will be subject to a limitation period, imposed either by the governing law or by the applicable contract terms. In addition, contractual time limits may apply to govern the time within which claims must be notified to another party. Time limits and limitation periods are therefore one of the first and most important points to consider whenever a dispute or potential dispute arises.

The starting point for a court or a tribunal is that if a claim is not made within the applicable time limit it cannot be made at all, and while some courts and tribunals may have discretion to permit a claim which has been made out of time, persuading courts and tribunals that claims should be allowed in such circumstances can be a lengthy and uncertain process. Missing a time limit can therefore have severe consequences.

Generally, it is for a defendant/respondent to raise the defence of limitation, a court or tribunal will not take this point against a claimant. This is why it is as important to be aware of time limits when defending claims as when commencing them: noting a time-bar point as a defendant may mean that no claim can be made against you.

This client alert sets out some of the key limitation periods to be aware of when commencing or defending commercial claims in the international trade and shipping sectors.

To read the full alert, please download the .PDF below.


Client Alert 2014-039