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Skerratt v Linfax Limited, Court of Appeal, 6 May 2003

14 May 2003
The issues

Limitation.

The facts

The Claimant had had an accident at the Defendant’s Go Kart track on the 4th April 1997. In November 2001 he was told by a Solicitor (acting for another person injured at the same track) that he might have a claim. The Claimant had signed a form agreeing that in taking a ride on the track he was doing so at his own risk. He issued proceedings on the 15th January 2002. The Defendant pleaded limitation. The matter came before the District Judge who found that there had been no deliberate concealment of material facts by the Defendant and that the Claimant being an intelligent and articulate man could have found out that he had a claim had he consulted lawyers. It was not therefore appropriate to exercise the discretion under Section 33. The District Judge also found that the Defendant would be prejudiced by facing a claim 5 years after the accident. The Claimant appealed.

The decision

1. Matters relating to concealment had taken place before the accident.

2. The law relating to concealment (Section 32(i)(b)) had to be narrowly construed and the District Judge was right to find that there had been no relevant concealment.

3. Even if the Claimant honestly believed he had no cause of action until he was told, if there was blame to be attached to him then that was a relevant consideration for the Court to consider in deciding whether to exercise the discretion. The District Judge was entitled to come to the view he had reached.

Appeal dismissed.

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