Limitation and Deliberate Concealment - Cave v. Robinson Jarvis & Rolf

Author:Ms Kate Hurford
Profession:Herbert Smith

Judgment from the House of Lords is awaited in an appeal against last year's Court of Appeal decision in Cave v. Robinson Jarvis & Rolf [2002] 1 WLR581. The appeal, heard on 28 February, involved the interpretation of section 32 of the Limitation Act 1980, insofar as it relates to deliberate concealment of facts. The appeal is in effect also an appeal against the Court of Appeal decision in Brocklesby v. Armitage and Guest [2001] 1 All ER 172.

In brief, the Court of Appeal decisions have had the result that the limitation period would be extended if there has been a deliberate concealment of facts by the defendant, including the deliberate commission of a breach of duty which is unlikely to be discovered for some time, where the act or omission by the defendant was intentional, regardless of whether the defendant appreciated that it was a breach of duty. Therefore the limitation period could be extended even where there was no impropriety on the part of the defendant.

These decisions have been subject to criticism by numerous commentators and the view appears to be generally held that the decision in...

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