Chapter 16 Key facts checklists

Defences and limitation

●    The main defences are

      –   contributory negligence;

      –   voluntary assumption of risk volenti non fit injuria; and

      –   illegality.

●    Contributory negligence occurs when the claimant has contributed to his own damage. It is governed by the Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945.

●    When there is more than one wrongdoer, the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978 may permit one who is liable to claim a contribution from another.

●    Voluntary assumption of risk (volenti non fit injuria) is a complete defence, on the basis that the claimant freely agreed to run the risk of damage.

●    Illegality (ex turpi causa non oritur actio) is a complete defence, on the grounds that the law will not reward or appear to condone an illegal act.

●    Limitation concerns the time limits within which legal actions must be commenced.

●    The main statute regulating limitation is the Limitation Act 1980.

●    Actions in tort must generally be brought within six years of accrual. If they involve personal injury, the time limit is three years, and for defamation it is one year.