When Does the Limitation Period Commence?


Limitation PeriodI am noting more defences to plaintiff’s claims are now pleading that the action has been brought out of time by reason of the limitation date.


Each type of claim has its own limitation date and for the purposes of this blog, I address the simple question of when does the limitation date commence?

I like the reasoning of the Supreme Court of Canada in 1954 in the Deglman case hereafter that essentially said the limitation date commenced when he found out he wasn’t going to inherit and thus not  get paid.

Moses v. Lower Nicola Indian Band, 2014 BCSC 643, varied on other grounds, 2015 BCCA 61, at para. 49: “Many cases have held that, generally, an unjust enrichment claim is subject to a six-year limitation period [citations omitted].

In Guzzo v. Cocoroch (1989), 38 B.C.L.R. (2d) 41 (B.C.C.A.), the Court of Appeal held that that the six year limitation period does not begin to run until the date at which restitution should have been made by the defendant to the plaintiff. That is when the claim for unjust enrichment matures.

In Guzzo, which involved a claim for personal care services provided to the deceased, the limitation period began to run at the time of her death because the compensation was to be provided by dispositions made in favour of the plaintiff in the deceased’s will.

Further, in Deglman v. Guaranty Trust Co. of Canada and Constantineau, [1954] S.C.R. 725, the Supreme Court of Canada addressed the question of whether the limitation period, in an action commenced on a quantum meruit basis, started to run at the time the goods or services were rendered by the plaintiff or at the point in time when it became apparent that the anticipated remuneration would not arise. In Deglman, the plaintiff had rendered services to his deceased aunt on the understanding that he would be provided for in her will.

The aunt died intestate and the plaintiff claimed against the estate on a quantum meruit basis. ( a reasonable fee for services provided)

The Court held that the plaintiff was entitled to succeed on that basis and that the limitation period commenced to run from the time of the aunt’s death.

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