Horton v Sadler and Another: HL 14 Jun 2006

The claimant had been injured in a road traffic accident for which the defendant was responsible in negligence. The defendant was not insured, and so a claim was to be made against the MIB. The plaintiff issued proceedings just before the expiry of the period, but failed to give first the requisite formal notice to the MIB. He now appealed against dismissal of his second set of proceedings for want of exercise of a judicial discretion to extend the limitation period.
Held: The claimant’s appeal succeeded. The House was being asked to depart from its decision in Walkley which had created an artficial distinction between claimants who made no application within the limitation period, and those who issued, but then failed to serve and had to re-issue outside the limitation period. Several cases were referred to where the case had been distinguished and there had been a reluctance to apply it. The court did have the discretion denied to it by Walkley, to allow extension of the time for a claim. Walkley was overruled.
Lord Bingham: ‘Over the past 40 years the House has exercised its power to depart from its own precedent rarely and sparingly. It has never been thought enough to justify doing so that a later generation of Law Lords would have resolved an issue or formulated a principle differently from their predecessors.’


Lord Bingham of Cornhill, Lord Hoffmann, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, Lord Carswell, Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood


[2006] UKHL 27, Times 19-Jun-2006, [2007] 1 AC 307, (2006) 91 BMLR 60, [2006] RTR 27, [2006] 2 WLR 1346, [2006] PIQR 30, [2006] 3 All ER 1177




Limitation Act 1980 33


England and Wales


OverturnedWalkley v Precision Forgings Ltd HL 1979
The plaintiff tried to bring a second action in respect of an industrial injury claim outside the limitation period so as to overcome the likelihood that his first action, although timeous, would be dismissed for want of prosecution.
Held: He . .
CitedSilverton v Goodall and Motor Insurance Bureau CA 26-Mar-1997
Sir Ralph Gibson explained the historical development of the Motor Insurers Bureau describing it as ‘a novel piece of extra statutory machinery’. . .
CitedThompson v Brown Construction (Ebbw Vale) Ltd HL 1981
The plaintiff’s solicitors, out of negligence, failed to issue a writ until one month after the limitation period had expired. The application to extend the period was rejected at first instance since he had an unanswerable claim against his . .
CitedFirman v Ellis CA 1978
Writs had been issued within the limitation period, but then allowed to lapse.
Held: Section 2D gave a wide discretion to the court which was not limited to a residual class of case or to exceptional cases.
Ormrod LJ said: ‘The appellants . .
CitedCartledge v E Jopling and Sons Ltd HL 1963
The plaintiffs were steel dressers who, in the course of their employment, had inhaled quantities of noxious dust which had caused them to suffer from pneumoconiosis. They issued proceedings on 1 October 1956 but were unable to show any breach of . .
CitedPractice Statement (Judicial Precedent) HL 1966
The House gave guidance how it would treat an invitation to depart from a previous decision of the House. Such a course was possible, but the direction was not an ‘open sesame’ for a differently constituted committee to prefer their views to those . .
CitedWalkley v Precision Forgings Ltd CA 1978
The plaintiff appealed the strict application of the limitation laws against his claim. He had been injured whilst working as a grinder. He began one claim which lapsed, and began a second claim outside the limitation period, requesting the court to . .
CitedFinch v Francis QBD 21-Jul-1977
Griffiths J considered the situation under which the court might use its discretion to extend a limitation period: ‘the object of the discretion was to provide for the occasional hard case’ and that its application ‘should be reserved for cases of . .
CitedRose v Express Welding Ltd CA 21-Jan-1986
. .
CitedBarry Young (Deceased) v Western Power Distribution (South West) Plc CA 18-Jul-2003
The deceased had begun an action on becoming ill after exposure to asbestos by the defendant. He withdrew his action after receiving expert evidence that his illness was unrelated. A post-mortem examination showed this evidence to be mistaken. His . .
CitedChappell v Cooper CA 1980
The plaintiff’s writ had not been served within the required time, and it had become too late to extend its validity. The plaintiff isued a second writ. The defendant argued limitation. Counsel for the plaintiffs sought to distinguish Walkley on the . .
CitedJacqueline Adam v Rasal Ali CA 21-Feb-2006
The defendant sought damages against the defendant for personal injury from his alleged negligence. Her action was struck out and she recommenced the action. The defendant pleaded that she was out of time. The claimant said that the first action . .
CitedPiggott v Aulton (Deceased) CA 29-Jan-2003
The claimant had issued proceedings against the deceased after his death, but before a personal representative had been appointed. They later discontinued and re-issued against the person appointed by the court to defend the action. The defendant . .
CitedDeerness v John R Keeble and Son (Brantham) Ltd HL 1983
The plaintiff suffered very serious injuries as a passenger in a car, and a writ was issued within the three-year period against the driver and the owner of the car whose insurers made a substantial interim payment. The writ was not served, nor . .
CitedShapland v Palmer CA 23-Mar-1999
The plaintiff’s car was struck by a company car driven by the defendant in the course of her employment and she sought damages. Her action, against the employer, was struck out as late under the 1980 Act. She then commenced an action against the . .
CitedMcevoy v AA Welding and Fabrication Ltd CA 15-Dec-1997
Where a first writ issued within the primary limitation period is itself ineffective (although not a nullity) through having been issued variously without consent against a company in liquidation.
Held: The Walkley principle does not apply to . .
CitedWhite v Glass CA 17-Feb-1989
The plaintiff had sued his club under its name, but it was an unincorporated association, and the action was stricken out as improperly constituted. The first writ issued within the primary limitation period but was ineffective. The defendant . .
CitedRe Workvale Ltd (In Liquidation) CA 8-Apr-1992
A limited company was correctly restored to the register from dissolution so that its insurers could face an arguable claim. Where a first writ issued within the primary limitation period was ineffective (although not a nullity) through having been . .
CitedForward v Hendricks CA 6-Dec-1996
. .
CitedRegina v National Insurance Commissioner, Ex parte Hudson HL 1972
The House considered whether it would have power to make a ruling with prospective effect only. Lord Diplock said the matter deserved further consideration; Lord Simon said that the possibility of prospective overruling should be seriously . .
CitedRegina v G and R HL 16-Oct-2003
The defendants, young boys, had set fire to paper and thrown the lit papers into a wheelie bin, expecting the fire to go out. In fact substantial damage was caused. The House was asked whether a conviction was proper under the section where the . .
CitedMorris v Lokass and Motor Insurers’ Bureau CC 17-Feb-2003
(Birmingham County Court ) The court considered a request to exercise its discretion to allow a claim to proceed despite the writ having been issued outside the limitation period.
Held: The court accepted the distinction proposed for the . .
CitedHartley v Birmingham City District Council CA 1992
The writ was issued one day late; there had been early notification of the claim; and the defendant’s ability to defend the case was unaffected. The plaintiff asked the court to exercide its discretion to allow the claim t proceed.
Held: The . .
CitedDonovan v Gwentoys Ltd HL 1990
The plaintiff, then a 16 year old girl slipped and fell whilst employed at the defendant’s factory. The limitation period expired on her 21st birthday. She commenced proceedings five and a half months after that date. The judge extended time under . .
CitedCorbin v Penfold Metallising Co Ltd CA 28-Apr-2000
The claimant was diagnosed as suffering from an industrial disease. He instructed solicitors promptly, but they failed to issue within the limitation period. The claimant applied for the time to be lengthened to allow him to claim. The court . .
CitedDas v Ganju CA 31-Mar-1999
Where a personal injury action had been delayed for five years by bad advice from solicitors and counsel, the court’s discretion should be exercised to allow the plaintiff to proceed with her claim, not herself being responsible for the delay.
CitedHytec Information Systems Limited v Council of City of Coventry CA 4-Dec-1996
The Court directed that unless particulars were served by a specified date the defendant’s claim should be struck out. The defendant served some particulars but it was decided that the defendant had deliberately flouted the unless order and its . .
Appeal fromHorton v Sadler and Another CA 28-Jun-2004
. .

Cited by:

CitedSeal v Chief Constable of South Wales Police HL 4-Jul-2007
The claimant had sought to bring proceedings against the respondent, but as a mental patient subject to the 1983 Act, had been obliged by the section first to obtain consent. The parties disputed whether the failure was a procedural or substantial . .
CitedGibson v United States of America PC 23-Jul-2007
(The Bahamas) The US government sought the extradition of the appellant from the Bahamas on drugs charges. The warrants were found to be void, and the defendant released unconditionally, when the nmagistrate rejected evidence from an admitted . .
CitedMcDonnell and Another v Walker CA 24-Nov-2009
The defendant appealed against the disapplication of section 11 of the 1980 Act under section 33.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The defendant had not contributed significantly to the delay: ‘the defendant received claims quite different in . .
MentionedAustin v Mayor and Burgesses of The London Borough of Southwark SC 23-Jun-2010
The appellant’s brother had been the secure tenant of the respondent Council which had in 1987 obtained an order for possession for rent arrears suspended on condition. The condition had not been complied with, but the brother had continued to live . .
CitedAktas v Adepta CA 22-Oct-2010
The court was asked whether, when a claim was issued towards the very end of a limitation period, but was then not served, and the claim was struck out, CPR Part 7.5(1) gave a further four months in which it could be resurrected at the discretion of . .
CitedAl Rabbat v Westminster Magistrates’ Court Admn 31-Jul-2017
The claimant appealed against refusal of an application for judicial review in turn of a refusal to allow private prosecutions of Tony Blair, Jack Straw and Lord Goldsmith in respect of their involvement in the war in Iraq, and the alleged crime of . .
CitedKnauer v Ministry of Justice SC 24-Feb-2016
The court was asked: ‘whether the current approach to assessing the financial losses suffered by the dependant of a person who is wrongfully killed properly reflects the fundamental principle of full compensation, and if it does not whether we . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Personal Injury, Limitation

Updated: 06 July 2022; Ref: scu.242522