A debtor can only be held to have acknowledged the claim if he has in effect admitted his legal liability to pay that which the plaintiff seeks to recover. An acknowledgement of part only of a debt cannot operate to acknowledge more.
Kerr J said: ‘What I draw from these authorities, and from the ordinary meaning of ‘acknowledges the claim,’ is that the debtor must acknowledge his indebtedness and legal liability to pay the claim in question. There is now no need to go further to seek for any implied promise to pay it. That artificiality has been swept away. But, taking the debtor’s statement as a whole, as it must be, he can only be held to have acknowledged the claim if he has in effect admitted his legal liability to pay that which the plaintiff seeks to recover. If he has denied liability, whether on the ground of what in pleader’s language is called ‘avoidance’, or on the ground of an alleged set off or cross-claim, then his statement does not amount to an acknowledgment of the creditor’s claim. Alternatively, if he contends that some existing set off or cross-claim reduces the creditor’s claim in part, then the statement, taken as a whole, can only amount to an acknowledgment of indebtedness for the balance. In effect, ‘acknowledges the claim’ means that the statement in question must be an admission of that indebtedness which the plaintiff seeks to recover notwithstanding the expiry of the period of limitation.’
 1 WLR 565
Cited – Bradford and Bingley Plc v Rashid HL 12-Jul-2006
Disapplication of Without Prejudice Rules
The House was asked whether a letter sent during without prejudice negotiations which acknowledged a debt was admissible to restart the limitation period. An advice centre, acting for the borrower had written, in answer to a claim by the lender for . .
Cited – Ofulue and Another v Bossert CA 29-Jan-2008
The claimants appealed an order finding that the defendant had acquired their land by adverse possession. They said that the defendant had asserted in defence to possession proceedings that they were tenants, and that this contradicted an intent to . .
Applied – National Westminster Bank v Powney CA 1990
The limitation period has nothing to do with the procedural machinery of enforcing a judgment when one was obtained. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 14 May 2022; Ref: scu.243128