● The main defences are
– contributory negligence;
– voluntary assumption of risk volenti non fit injuria; and
● 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.