Category: Time Limits

Nova Scotia’s New Limitation Act Helps Sexual Abuse Victims

by John McKiggan

Nova Scotia has proclaimed a new Limitation of Actions Act. That is the law that establishes the statute of limitation period (how long a plaintiff has to sue) for various claims.

There are a number of important changes in the new statute of limitations. Specifically it shortens the limitation period for many claims to two years.

Court still has discretion to extend limitation periods

Ghomeshi-Cosby Accusations Highlight Differences Between Canada-US Sex Assault Laws

by John McKiggan

Jian Ghomeshi criminal charges

There are few Canadians that haven’t heard about the sexual assault allegations being made against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi. Two weeks ago Ghomeshi was charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of physical assault. To date nine women have come forward stating they were victims of sexual or physical assault by Ghomeshi. Some of the allegations date back a decade or more.

Bill Cosby facing sex assault allegations but no criminal charges

Incest Survivor Waits Too Long to Sue – Claim Struck-Out

by John McKiggan

Historical sexual abuse claims can be complicated and difficult to prove for many reasons; the abuse happened long ago, witnesses may have died, records are destroyed and memories fade.

Limitation Periods a Barrier

One of the biggest hurdles abuse survivors faced was the fact that the time limit to file a claim had usually run out by the time the survivor had the strength or courage to be able to disclose what happened to them as a child.

Supreme Court of Canada Sends Time Limits Case Back to Court

by John McKiggan

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today on Christensen v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Québec, an important case out of the province of Quebec that addresses the rights of sexual abuse survivors in that province to pursue compensation for their injuries.

Quebec has the shortest statute of limitation (time limit) in Canada for filing sexual abuse compensation claims. In Quebec, if sexual abuse survivors wish to pursue a compensation claim, they must sue their abuser (or the abuser’s employer) within three years of the sexual assault!!

In other words, if a child is sexually abused when they are 7 years old, they must file a claim before they turn 11 years of age. Does that sound crazy?

Takes Time to Discover Effects of Abuse

Statute of Limitations in Sexual Abuse Claims: Supreme Court of Canada

by John McKiggan

Time Limits for Sexual Abuse Claims

This week the Supreme Court of Canada released its decisions in a pair of historical sexual abuse cases arising out of Nova Scotia. In Borden v. Attorney General of Nova Scotia and Smith v. Attorney General of Nova Scotia, the plaintiffs filed claims against the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children and the Children’s Aid Society alleging the defendants were liable for damages for sexual assault and breach of fiduciary duty relating to sexual abuse that allegedly occurred in the home between 1966 and 1984.

The Home for Colored Children and the Children’s Aid Society applied for summary judgment to dismiss the claims on the basis that they were statute barred pursuant to Nova Scotia’s Limitation of Actions Act.

Nova Scotia Sexual Abuse Claims Barred by Statute: Breach of Fiduciary Duty Claims can Proceed

by John McKiggan

In two related decisions released last month, Justice Walter Goodfellow has ruled that the plaintiffs’ claims for compensation for assault and negligence as a result of childhood sexual abuse were statute barred. However, Goodfellow J. allowed the plaintiffs’ claims for compensation for breach of fiduciary duty to continue.

Robert Lawrence Borden and Leonard Anthony Smith were both former residents of the Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children.

Borden and Smith have filed a proposed class action on behalf of all former residents of the school seeking compensation for assault and negligence as a result of sexual abuse they allege happened while they were residents were living in the Home for Colored Children.

Time Limits for Filing Sexual Abuse Claims in UK

by John McKiggan

This article is a fascinating (at least to lawyers who represent survivors of sexual abuse) review of the development of the law in the U.K. regarding time limits for filing civil claims for compensation for sexual abuse.

Until recently, I would have said that Canada, and Nova Scotia in particular, had the most liberal time limits for filing civil claims for historical sexual abuse. Based on this article I believe that the U.K. may now have taken the lead in protecting the rights of survivors of childhood sexual absue.

Colorado Considers Eliminating Time Limits for Sex Abuse Claims

by John McKiggan

A state legislator wants to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse lawsuits.

Rep. Gwyn Green (D-Golden) is sponsoring the “Children’s Protection Bill.” Based on the proposed law, a victim of sexual abuse would be able to sue an organization or an agency if it knew about the abuse and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the perpetrator from committing the abuse.

In the landmark ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in M.K. v. M.H. the court ruled that the time limit in historical sexual abuse claims did not start to run until the victim was reasonably capable of discovering the wrongful nature of the abuser’s acts and the nexus between those acts and the victim’s injuries.

“Floodgate” of Sexual Abuse Claims to Open in U.K.

by John McKiggan

The House of Lords decision extending time limits for filing sexual abuse claims that I posted about yesterday is likely to open the “floodgates” to hundreds of historical sexual abuse claims, according to an article today in the Evening Gazette.

The story reports that:

A landmark legal ruling has opened the floodgates to one of the biggest claims of alleged sexual abuse in history.

Time Limit for Filing Sexual Abuse Claims Extended by House of Lords

by John McKiggan

In an interesting decision released this week in the U.K. the House of Lords extended the time limit for filing a claim for compensation for sexual abuse.

In the U.K. the general rule is that the period of limitation for an action in tort is six years from the date on which the cause of action accrues. Claims for “damages for negligence, nuisance or breach of duty”, causing personal injuries have a limitation period of three years from either the date when the cause of action accrued or the “date of knowledge” (similar to the Canada’s “discoverability” rule).

The decision appears to grant broad discretion to judges in the U.K. to extend time limits for filing claims for compensation for sexual abuse.

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