(ii) Qualification of the General Limitation Period for Particular Restitutionary Claims

Even though the limitation period for restitutionary claims founded on the reversal of the defendant’s unjust enrichment should usually be six years, it is clear that for particular types of claim different considerations may apply.

(1) Claims in Equity

Where the restitutionary relief which the claimant seeks is equitable, the Limitation Act 1980 is inapplicable9 and so the equitable doctrine of laches applies.10 Consequently, where the claimant seeks a restitutionary remedy on the ground of undue influence or the defendant’s unconscionable conduct then, because such claims are equitable even though they are founded on the reversal of the defendant’s unjust enrichment, it is the doctrine of laches rather than the Limitation Act which should be applicable.1

(2) Contribution

Where the claimant brings a contribution claim under the Civil Liability (Contribution) Act 1978[1] the claim is subject to a limitation period of two years from the date on which the statutory right of action accrues.[2]

(3) Salvage

The limitation period for salvage claims is two years from the date when the salvage services were rendered.[3]

  • [1] See p 248, above.
  • [2] Limitation Act 1980, s 10(1). To determine when the cause of action accrues see s 10(2)-(4).
  • [3] International Convention on Salvage 1989, art 23 (1) enacted by Maritime Shipping Act 1995, s 224, Sch11. For an examination of salvage claims see p 305, above.
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