What is Statute of Limitation?

A statute of limitations is a statute in a common law legal
system setting forth the maximum period of time, after
certain events, that legal proceedings based on those
events may begin. In civil law systems, these provisions
are usually part of the civil code or criminal code and are
often known collectively as periods of prescription or
prescriptive periods.

A common law legal system might Have a statute limiting
prosecution for crimes called misdemeanors to two years.
In such a state, if a person is discovered to Have
committed a misdemeanor three years ago, he or she
cannot now be prosecuted for it. Or a contract can only be
sued upon for breach or performance from six years after
the contract was agreed upon or partially performed.

In contrast, Canada has a criminal limitations periods only
for summary (less serious) offences. The period is ten
years from the date of the offence. Thus, A can only be
charged with failing to inform of a hole in ice (an actual
offence) within ten years of the time of commission. In the
case of indictable (more serious) offences, if A sexually
assaulted V, A could be charged any time in the future—
even if the crime happened twenty years ago.

A crime (in the case of a criminal prosecution) or a cause of
action (in a civil lawsuit) is said to Have accrued when the
event beginning its time limitation occurs. Sometimes this
is the event itself that is the subject of the suit or
prosecution (such as a crime or personal injury), but it may
also be an event such as the discovery of a condition one
wishes to redress, such as discovering a defect in a
manufactured good, or in the case of lost memory
syndrome where someone discovers memories of
childhood sexual abuse during therapy long afterwards.

A special case of the statute of limitations is a statute of
repose. This applies to buildings and properties, and limits
the time during which an action may lie based upon defects
or hazards connected to the construction of the building or
premises. An example of this would be that if a person is
electrocuted by a wiring defect incorporated into a
structure in, say, 1990, a state law may allow him or his
heirs to sue only before 1997 in the case of an open
(patent) defect, or before 2000 in the case of a hidden
defect.
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