Law Reform Commission of Western Australia
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Project 36(II) - Limitation and notice of actions

Project No. 36(II)

Commenced: 1972
Completed: 1997

The law of limitation of actions deals with the rules governing the period of time within which a person must commence civil proceedings. In Western Australia, these periods of time vary, depending upon the cause of action. The Limitation Act 1935 (WA) is the major source of law on this topic. All common law jurisdictions have rules prescribing the period within which civil actions must be commenced.

The Western Australian Parliament passed the Act in 1935, but in no sense did this represent any reform of the law. The intention behind it was simply to consolidate the statutory limitation provisions in force at that time.

Terms of Reference

In 1972 the Commission was asked to examine and report on the law relating to the limitation and notice of civil actions, and incidental matters.


In 1983 the Limitation Act 1935 (WA) was amended to allow asbestosis and mesothelioma sufferers to avoid the six-year limitation period for industrial diseases with long latency periods. These amendments were made in response to the Commission’s report on Part I of this project.

Due to the changes made by the Limitation Act 2005 (WA) and the Limitation Legislation Amendment and Repeal Act 2005 (WA), there is now one general limitation period of six years for an action on any cause of action with the possibility of extension by the courts. However, the statute also retains exceptional limitation periods for particular causes of action. In addition, the point at which the cause of action accrues still differs for different causes of uniformity between causes of actions outlined by the Commission's report remains to be addressed.

Last updated: 31-Jan-2017

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