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4 Instituting proceedings

Efficiency public interest in having claims resolved

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Efficiency: Public interest in having claims resolved as expeditiously as possible.
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Brisbane South Regional Health Authority v Taylor [1996] HCA 25 per McHugh J Courts & commentators have perceived four broad rationales for the enactment of limitation periods. First , as time goes by, relevant evidence is likely to be lost. Second , it is oppressive, even "cruel", to a defendant to allow an action to be brought long after the circumstances which gave rise to it have passed. Third , people should be able to arrange their affairs and utilise their resources on the basis that claims can no longer be made against them. Insurers, public institutions and businesses, particularly limited liability companies, have a significant interest in knowing that they have no liabilities beyond a definite period.
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As the New South Wales Law Reform Commission has pointed out: "The potential defendant is thus able to make the most productive use of his or her resources and the disruptive effect of unsettled claims on commercial intercourse is thereby avoided. To that extent the public interest is also served."
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McHugh J in B risbane South Regional Health Authority v Taylor cont. Even where the cause of action relates to personal injuries, it will be often just as unfair to make the shareholders, ratepayers or taxpayers of today ultimately liable for a wrong of the distant past, as it is to refuse a plaintiff the right to reinstate a spent action arising from that wrong. The final rationale for limitation periods is that the public interest requires that disputes be settled as quickly as possible. In enacting limitation periods, legislatures have regard to all these rationales. A limitation period should not be seen therefore as an arbitrary cut off point unrelated to the demands of justice or the general welfare of society. It represents the legislature's judgment that the welfare of society is best served by causes of action being litigated within the limitation period, notwithstanding that the enactment of that period may often result in a good cause of action being defeated.’
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LIMITATION OF ACTIONS- VICTORIA Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) Terminology used Significant reforms to limitation of actions in early 2000s, particularly in relation to personal injury actions
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Limitation of Actions Act 1958 (Vic) s 5(1)(a) 6 years for – Simple contract actions (i.e. a contract supported by consideration) . Tort actions including damages for breach of a statutory duty. S 5(1AAA) – defamation: 1 year from publication.
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Limitation Periods & Equitable Remedies Limitation statute does not apply to claims seeking equitable remedies (e.g. specific performance and injunctions)-see Limitation of Actions Act 1958 s 31. Time for bringing an action seeking equitable relief is governed by the doctrine of laches – court may refuse to grant relief where plaintiff’s delay makes it unjust for court to grant relief i.e. because plaintiff’s slackness has caused prejudice to the defendant.
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When does Time Start to Run? Starts when cause of action
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Efficiency Public interest in having claims resolved as...

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