Limitation Periods

A limitation period sets a deadline to commence a court action. If you don't meet that deadline, you have no action. Until May 2005, the rules about time limitations in Saskatchewan were sprinkled among several bits of legislation. Sometimes the time limit was 1 year. In other cases it was 2, 6 or even 10 years. There didn't seem to be any good reason why you had to sue an insurance company within 1 year or lose your right to insurance, but you had 6 years to sue on a debt or 10 on a mortgage. That all changed in 2005. Now in most cases, we have a 2 year time limitation in Saskatchewan. It runs from when the right to sue first arose or when a person reasonably should have known they had a right to sue.

2 Year Time Limitation

In most cases, the right to sue in Saskatchewan is 2 years from the day you first had the right to sue. If a February 1 loan payment is missed, the creditor has until January 31st (maybe Feb 1) in the 2nd year after the default to issue a statement of claim in court. A payment or written acknowledgment by the debtor can renew the 2 year period. In the same way, you have 2 years (less 1 day) to start a court action on an insurance policy, breach of contract and most other wrongs. If you could not reasonably have known about the right to sue on that day, the 2 years generally will run 2 years from the day you should have known. Thus, if a contractor does some work to the roof on your house on March 1 but you don't discover it is leaking until July 1st, the 2 years runs from July 1 ... not March 1 .... less one day. If the time limit is going to expire on a day the court house is not open, such as a Saturday, then you have until the following business day that the court is open, though you wouldn't want to tempt fate by holding off that long.

Keep Your Time Limitations Top of Mind

If you have a potential court action, make sure you speak to a lawyer and find out what the time limit is. Don't assume it is 2 years because there are some exceptions. There are not that many but there can be some. Don't wait until 1 or 2 weeks before the deadline either. Most lawyers are busy. If you don't give them adequate time to commence the action, you may easily miss it. It's also not a good way to start off your relationship with your lawyer. Some lawyers may refuse to take on your case because they don't have enough time and they don't want to get blamed when the time limit is missed. In short ... get your action going long before the time limitation is an issue.

Your Delay Can Send a Message to the Other Side

If you wait until the last moment to sue, a lot of defendants will know that you aren't that serious about suing. If you really have a claim, try to negotiate a settlement. If you can't accomplish that within reasonable time, then move on to court to get your remedy, assuming the issue is big enough to justify your time and the expense. Of course there may be some exceptions but I think there is a lot of truth to this.

Less One Day

I know I said this before, but remember that if your cause of action / right to sue happened on July 8, you have until July 7 two years later ... not July 8 ... to start a court action.

Remember this is only a General Rule - There are Exceptions

There are exceptions to the rule. For example there are a few matters that the 2 year time limit doesn't apply to. It may be longer if you could not reasonably have discovered the right to sue at the time the negligence or breach occurred. Some payments or written acknowledgments can extend the time ... but only in some cases. If there is an existing court action, other parties can be added to it even after the time limit has expired ... depending on the circumstances. You can agree in a contract to change the time limitation. There is also an ultimate time limitation of 15 years.

Notice:The information on this website is general in nature only. It relates to Saskatchewan, Canada and may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. It does not constitute legal advice to you and no solicitor client relationship will be established. A conflict check would also be required before our firm can act for someone. You should seek specific legal advice regarding your circumstances from a lawyer entitled to practise law in your jurisdiction.
* Richard Carlson Legal Prof. Corp. | Friday, Jun 21 2024 18:09 pm UTC1 (-6 hrs for Sask)