@G&P Group's David Cadman analysis of the very recent Turks and Caicos Limitation Ordinance, which came into force on October 12th 2021.

The new law provides that some older claims may now only be pursued if proceedings are issued before October 12th 2022, after which they may be statute barred. Please contact us if you have a claim that you think may be affected by the new law.

The Limitation of Actions Ordinance 2021 ("the Ordinance") came into effect on Tuesday 12th October 2021.1

The Ordinance introduces statutory time limits for causes of action with effect from the date of commencement of the Ordinance, with discretionary powers of the Court2 to extend or disapply statutory time limits in specific cases.

The provisions of the Ordinance will have the effect of extinguishing stale and historic claims in particular, with provision for exceptions. However, the Ordinance shall not apply to "generational land"3 which is "land in which several persons hold undivided interest, such interest being derived from claims of inheritance from an ancestor, without having followed the legally prescribed procedures for administering the estate of the deceased ancestor."4

Further, the Ordinance does not apply to:

  1. any right, title or interest to or in land or immovable property of the Crown;
  2. any proceedings by the Crown for the recovery of any tax or duty or interest or such tax or duty;
  3. any forfeiture proceedings under any Ordinance relating to customs or to duties of excise;
  4. any proceedings for the forfeiture of a ship or aircraft; or
  5. any action or arbitration for which a limitation period is prescribed by or under any other enactment, whether enacted before or after the enactment of this Ordinance, or to any action or arbitration to which the Crown is a party and for which, if it were between persons, a limitation period would be prescribed by or under any such other enactment.5

The Ordinance neither creates any new causes of action, nor does it enable any cause of action to be brought which was barred before the commencement of the Ordinance.6

Causes of Action in Existence at the time of Commencement of the Ordinance

A person who had a cause of action prior to the commencement of the Ordinance (that is, prior to 12th October 2021) which, because of the limitation period provided by the Ordinance, will expire on the commencement of the Ordinance, or within one year of the commencement of the Ordinance, may still bring that action within 12 months of the commencement of the Ordinance.7 This provision provides a 'grace' period of 12 months' extension of the limitation period introduced by the Ordinance where the effect of the introduction would otherwise have been for the time limit to expire on or within 12 months of commencement of the Ordinance. This provision does not give a general extension of the relevant limitation period introduced by the Ordinance for all existing causes of action.

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1. Limitation of Actions 2021 Notice of Commencement dated 5th October 2021, Legal Notice 121 of 2021 which was published in the Gazette on 8th October 2021.

2. Pursuant to Section 2(1), "court" means any court in the Islands where an action is brought unless specified otherwise in the Ordinance.

3. Section 4(3).

4. Section 4(4).

5. Section 4(2).

6. Section 49(1)(a).

7. Section 49(2).

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.