UK: Changing the Parties to Proceedings Following the Expiry of a Limitation Period

Last Updated: 8 September 2004
Article by Stephanie Thomas

Originally published August 2004

In a recent decision1, the Court of Appeal has determined that, under certain circumstances, proceedings may be amended to change the identity of parties following the expiry of a statutory limitation period.

The Facts of the Case

Mrs. Stedman had granted a Lease dated 12th July 1991 to the Claimants. The premises were used as a school and the Lease enjoyed security of tenure pursuant to Part II of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 ("the 1954 Act"). Mrs Stedman died in August 1998 and following the expiry of the 12 year term of the Lease, the tenancy continued pursuant to Section 24(1) of the 1954 Act. Solicitors acting for the executors of Mrs. Stedman’s Will served a Notice pursuant to Section 25 of the 1954 Act dated 26th March 2003. The Notice terminated the Claimants’ tenancy on 4th October 2003. By a letter dated 28th April 2003 the Executors’ solicitors informed the tenants that by a Transfer dated 23rd April 2003 the freehold had been transferred by the Defendants to another party. On 25th June 2003 the Claimants issued a Claim Form applying for a new tenancy under Section 29 of the 1954 Act. The Defendants were stated to be the Executors of Mrs. Stedman. The Executors objected to a new tenancy stating that they were not the competent landlord as defined by Section 44(1) of the 1954 Act. They asked the Claimants to confirm that the claim would be discontinued as they were the wrong Defendants.

Subsequently, on 15th September 2003, the Claimants applied for an Order that the purchaser, Mrs. Purcell, be substituted for the Defendants because the Executors of Mrs. Stedman’s Will had been named in error as the Defendants. The Judge at first instance held that the period prescribed by the 1954 Act for the commencement of proceedings was "a relevant limitation period" within the meaning of Part 19.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998. However, he determined that Part 19.5 was not engaged because the 1954 Act was not an enactment as defined by the Rule as it contains no provision allowing or disallowing the substitution or addition of parties.

The key issue in the case was whether the only enactments which fell within the Court Rule were those which expressly allowed a change of parties after the end of a relevant limitation period.

The Limitation Period

Prior to the coming into force of the reforms to the 1954 Act, on 1st June 2003, Section 29(3) of the 1954 Act provided that no application for a new tenancy would be entertained unless it was made not less two nor more than four months after the giving of the Landlord’s Notice under Section 25 of the 1954 Act. Following the reforms the application must be made not later than the date for termination given in the Landlord’s Notice or the day before the date specified in the Tenant’s Section 26 Request.

The Court Rule

Part 19.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 applies to a change of parties following the expiry of a period of limitation under the Limitation Act 1980, the Foreign Limitation Periods Act 1984 or any other enactment which allows such change, or under which a change is allowed. The Rule provides that the Court may add or substitute a party only if the relevant limitation period was current when the proceedings were started and the addition or substitution is necessary.

In order for it to be deemed necessary, the Court must be satisfied that:

  • the addition or substitution of a party is to correct a mistake in the Claim Form
  • the claim cannot be carried on by or against the original party without the addition or substitution

  • the original party has died or been made bankrupt and his interest or liability has passed to the new party.

The Decision of the Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal finding that it was possible to apply an interpretation to Part 19.5 as referring to any enactment which allowed or did not prohibit the change of a party after the end of a relevant limitation period. The 1954 Act envisaged applications for a new tenancy but did not regulate the manner in which they might be made, except for stipulating the period in which those claims must be brought. However, from time to time Claimants applying for a new tenancy will, in practice, apply for permission to change the parties after the end of a limitation period. In the absence of a specific prohibition on the right of a party to apply for permission to substitute another party to the proceedings, the Court of Appeal found that such applications were allowed outside the limitation period as far as 1954 Act proceedings were concerned if the relevant limitation period was still running when the proceedings were commenced. As far as the question of mistake was concerned, this was clearly relevant as the Defendants must have understood that the Claimants were seeking a new tenancy from the party who was the competent landlord and that the Defendants were named by mistake.

The case establishes that a Court has jurisdiction to permit a tenant making an application for a new tenancy under the 1954 Act to amend his Claim Form after the statutory period for the making of an application had expired if he wishes to add or substitute a party to the proceedings. It also represents a practical application of the Civil Procedure Rules and illustrates the tendency of the Courts towards reasonableness when interpreting and applying Court Rules and statutory provisions.


1 Parsons and another v. George and another [2004]EWCA Civ 912; [2004] All ER (D) 216 (Jul)

© RadcliffesLeBrasseur

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions