Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 36(I) - Limitation and notice of actions: latent disease and injury

Project No. 36(I)

Commenced: 1982
Completed: 1982

The reference arose as a result of community concern that sufficient legal recourse be available to persons suffering asbestos-related diseases. It followed a spate of diagnoses of individuals who had resided in Wittenoom and other asbestos mining areas in Western Australia. The Attorney General requested that the Commission give urgent consideration to the issue of latent personal injury and disease in the context of limitation of actions. The Commission had already received a general reference to review the law relating to limitation and notice of civil actions, referred in 1972. Because of the urgency of this new reference, the Commission decided to split the reference into two parts.

Terms of Reference

In June 1982 the Commission was asked to examine and report on the law relating to the limitation and notice of actions as it applies to civil actions brought by or in respect of persons who contract a disease or suffer an injury that remains latent for a significant period of time.


The Limitation Act 1935 (WA) was amended by the insertion of s 38A4 to cater for 'a latent injury that is attributable to the inhalation of asbestos'. Consequential amendments were also made to s 6 of the Crown Suits Act 1947 (WA), s 7 of the Fatal Accidents Act 1959 (WA) and s 4 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1941 (WA).

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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