Smith v Central Asbestos Co Ltd: CA 1971

Edmund-Davies LJ said of a report prepared by a committee of which had been chairman into ‘whether any alteration is desirable in the law relating to the limitation of actions in cases of personal injury where the injury or disease giving rise to the claim has not become apparent in sufficient time to enable proceedings to be begun within three years from the inception of such injury or disease.’: ‘The committee did not, however, confine itself to ‘diseases,’ but to all ‘slow manifestation’ cases, thus embracing cases where a definite accident known to have occurred leads years later to wholly unsuspected consequences. Its report concluded: ‘that the law ought to be amended so that, in personal injury cases, a plaintiff should not be defeated by the expiry of the limitation period, if he satisfies the court that:
(a) the first occasion on which he discovered or could reasonably have been expected to discover the existence of his injury, or the cause to which it was attributable, was such that it was not reasonably practicable for him to start proceedings in time; and (b) he has in fact started proceedings within a certain period (which we consider should be 12 months) after such occasion.”


Edmund-Davies LJ


[1972] 1 QB 244, [1971] 3 All ER 204


England and Wales


AppliedNewton v Cammell Laird and Co (Shipbuilders and Engineers) Ltd CA 1969
The court considered when the limitation period in a personal injury claim would start to run, where the plaintiff might be unaware of the damage: ‘You have to ask yourself: At what date was it reasonable for him – for the sick man himself – to have . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromSmith v Central Asbestos Co Ltd; Central Asbestos Co Ltd v Dodd HL 1973
The House considered at what point an injured person was to be deemed to have become aware of his injury so as to start the limitation period.
Held: A majority rejected the proposition that knowledge of ‘material facts’ for section 1(3) . .
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 . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Limitation, Personal Injury

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.200435