Litigation, Insights

An Examination of When a Suit/Action is Statute-Barred: Review of the Supreme Court Decision in Karshi & Ors V Gwagwa (2022) Lpelr- 57544(Sc)

To validly institute a civil action, it is the position of the law that there is a time limit within which such action can be brought before a court for proper adjudication. The law that decides the time limit is the Statute of Limitation (hereinafter “Limitation Law”). The applicable limitation law stipulates that an action must be commenced within a specific period and where there is non-compliance, the right of action would be deemed to have become otiose, extinguished, or statute-barred. Put differently, any action caught by the limitation law is dead for all ages.

In most cases, the determining factor of when an aggrieved person shows tardiness by suing his wrongdoer outside the time bracket prescribed by the statute (i.e., action extinguished by passage of time) is when the right of action accrued which is referred to in law as “cause of action”. So, when the sued party becomes aware of this development, it opens the door to raise an objection as to the validity of the action before a court. Where the court is to determine whether an action is statute-barred as per the objection raised, this article will address the processes the court should examine that will enable it reach a conclusion on compliance with the prescribed time frame to bring such action.

In recent times, there has been some form of pandemonium in the judicial atmosphere in respect of the processes the court should consider in determining when an action is statute-barred and a different position of law was established in the case of Karshi v Gwagwa, on when a cause of action accrued…




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