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Sweet v Owners of Blythe Life Boat, High Court

27 February 2002
The issues

Limitation – Merchant Shipping Act 1995.

The facts

The Claimant claimed for damages including damages for psychiatric injury. The Merchant Shipping Act 1995 Section 190(iii) imposes a 2 year limitation period. Defendants alleged that the claim was statute barred in that it had been issued 2 years after the date of the collision between the vessels.

The decision

The Section provided that no proceedings should be brought for 2 years from the date when (a) the damage or loss was caused or; (b) the loss of life or injury was suffered. The statute provided separately therefore for the date of collision and the date of loss of life or injury.

It was therefore envisaged that there might be cases where time did not run from the date of collision but from the date of injury. Time would run therefore from the date on which the Claimant first developed his recognised psychiatric injury.

The Application to strike out by the Defendants was dismissed.

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