Time limits

There are legal time limits in relation to any kind of claim in English law.

In financial services and professional negligence claims it is vital to act swiftly to ensure that these do not expire.

This page is for information only – if you have any thoughts about bringing a claim you should take advice on this from a good litigation solicitor urgently because there are complexities which may apply to you. Do not rely on this page to work out your own case’s time limits.

If you are worried that the time limits in your case may have expired then seek advice urgently. You may well have options!

In most cases the time limit is six years from the act complained of – so when the investment was bought, pension transferred, advice give, deeds executed, etc… In almost all cases it is vital to watch for the earliest of these.

This is the most important issue, just because an investment fails 3 years after it was invested in then the time limit does not run from that failure, instead it runs from when the investment was purchased.

This legal time limit is only stopped by issuing court proceedings, so if you are negotiating or talking with the person responsible then you still have to watch out for this time limit expiring.

There is a possible alternative time limit where you could not have known about your possible case until later. This may allow you three years from the earliest time you could (not did!) find out about the facts (not that someone may be to blame or that the law may let you make a claim) of your claim.

This alternative time limit is a complex topic and if you think it applies to you then you should stop reading right now and call a lawyer able to advise you.

These time limits in relation to court proceedings can be found in the Limitation Act 1980.

If you are thinking of bringing a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Service then very similar rules apply. But those rules are interpreted differently. If you think you are going to take one of these paths then you should also seek advice from a lawyer familiar with those rules and the differences.

If your solicitor misses a deadline then it is possible that they may be liable for this. However, suing solicitors for such mistakes is a specialist topic and consulting a barrister who has practised as a litigation solicitor for many years can get you early and efficient advice.