Legal Memorandum: Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions

Issue: What is the Statute of Limitations for Civil Actions in Jamaica?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Statute of limitations; Civil actions; Torts
Jurisdiction: Jamaica
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: Jam. Act of Limitations § 46
Date: 04/01/2013

The statute of limitations appears to be six years.  Jam. Act of Limitations § 46.  Section 46 discusses contract claims, but refers to an old English statute that covers “trespass on the case.”  Id. (citing English Act of Parliament from 1623).   Jamaica’s Supreme Court of Judicature recently stated that an action for negligence, and apparently other torts, has a six-year period of limitation.  Baker v. O’Brian Brown, 5 J.J.C. 0301, ¶¶ 48-53 (S.C.J. 2010).  There is no statutory provision for extending the limitations period.  The court noted that in 1980, England amended its limitations act to give courts the power to extend the limitations period if it was equitable to do so, but “[u]nfortunately, our legislators have not yet seen fit to so extend the courts’ power to exercise any such discretion.”  Id. ¶ 52.    The six years is counted from when the cause of action arose.  See Int’l Asset Servs. Ltd. v. Foote, 1 J.J.C. 2802 (S.C.J. 2009).  


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