Collins v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills and Others: CA 23 May 2014

The claimant appealed against rejection of his claim for personal injury which had been rejected on basis that it was out of time. He had contracted cancer in 2002, but had recovered. He later came to attribute this to exposure to asbestos at work in the docks up to 1967. He made his claim in 2012. The court was asked to what extent the court should take account of a delay between 1947 and 2003, the date of his constructive knowledge of the injury.
Held: Jackson LJ said: ‘Because the test in section 14 (3) is an objective one, the practical consequence is that some injured persons fail to make reasonable and timeous inquiries, with the result that they are time-barred. This is unsurprising. Sections 11 to 14 of the Limitation Act strike a balance between the interests of (a) persons who, having suffered latent injuries, seek compensation late in the day and (b) tortfeasors who, despite their wrongdoings, ultimately need closure. Parliament has struck that balance by means of an objective test. Parliament has also provided a safety net in the form of section 33 so as to prevent injustice arising.’ In this case a reasonable man in the claimant’s position would have been asking as to the causes of his condition by mid-2003. The judge had correctly fixed the date of his construcive knowledge

Jackson, Lewison, Macur LJJJ
[2014] EWCA Civ 717
Limitation Act 1980 11(4) 14 33
England and Wales
CitedSpargo v North Essex District Health Authority CA 13-Mar-1997
The test of ‘When a plaintiff became aware of the cause of an injury’ is a subjective test of what passed through plaintiff’s mind. ‘(1) the knowledge required to satisfy s14(1)(b) is a broad knowledge of the essence of the causally relevant act or . .
Appeal fromCollins v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills QBD 2-May-2013
The claimant was seriously ill and claimed that this arose from exposure to asbestos fibres working for the defendant many years before. He now sought an extension of time to make the claim.
Held: The court upheld the limitation defences of . .
CitedAdams v Bracknell Forest Borough Council HL 17-Jun-2004
A attended the defendant’s schools between 1977 and 1988. He had always experienced difficulties with reading and writing and as an adult found those difficulties to be an impediment in his employment. He believed them to be the cause of the . .
CitedJohnson v Ministry of Defence and Another CA 21-Nov-2012
The claimant said that he had been exposed him to excessive noise during the course of his employment, causing his deafness. He noticed his hearing problems in 2001. He was also aware that exposure to noise could cause hearing loss, but did not . .
CitedPrice v United Engineering Steels Limited; J J Habershon and Sons Limited CA 12-Dec-1997
The plaintiff sought damages for deafness following exposure to excessive noise during his employment with the first and second defendants some 20 to 35 years previously. He issued his writ six years after the date of knowledge under LA section 14 . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Limitation, Personal Injury

Updated: 03 December 2021; Ref: scu.525867