What Are Limitation Dates?
Limitation dates are deadlines or time limits imposed on you by law and limit the amount of time you have to start legal proceedings, file appeals, or make formal complaints. These deadlines are often set out in individual statutes, regulations, or bylaws, otherwise the Limitations Act sets out the deadlines. The length of time before your right to start or continue proceedings expires will depend on the type of problem that you have. For example, you have thirty days from the day that you receive your property tax assessment from the city to file a notice that you wish to appeal the assessment. Another example: if someone does not pay the money that she owes to you, you have two years from the time that the debt is due, or from when she refuses to pay, to sue for the amount owed.
There are also limitations dates which affect certain criminal matters. Speak to a criminal lawyer if you have questions about applicable limitation dates. One exception regarding limitations is the “reasonable discoverability” exception. This means that the limitation period does not begin until the plaintiff (the person bringing the suit) could have reasonably discovered the material facts upon which their case is based. For example in a sexual abuse case where the plaintiff has suffered memory block over a number of years she may not be able to appreciate that there is cause of action until the memories of abuse surface.
Are Limitation Dates Important?
Limitation dates are very important because if the time passes before you start your action, you will be prevented from making your claim. For example, if you obtain a Divorce Judgment from your spouse, you have two years from the date of the judgment to start your action under the Matrimonial Property Act for a share of the property that you acquired during your marriage. If you do not start your action before the two-year period passes and, if there is no fraud involved, under the statute you will not be able to obtain assistance from the court.
How Do I Know If Time Is Running against Me?
If you think that you may have a legal action against someone or you wish to appeal a decision made against you, contact a lawyer or Legal Aid office to find out how long you have before your right to take action is gone. Don’t delay; always leave plenty of time to make sure that all necessary documents can be prepared and necessary information can be obtained.