Review of the Limitation Act
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About the project

The Singapore Academy of Law’s Law Reform Committee undertook a comprehensive review of the law of limitations, having noted that several deficiencies in the Limitation Act (Chapter 163, 1996 Revised Edition) had surfaced. One particular deficiency related to actions in unjust enrichment. Such an action is not based on either contract or tort and was thus not covered by the Act. Other deficiencies included the unduly complex rules which resulted in different limitation periods being applicable to the same set of facts, and the issue of ‘discoverability’ as a starting date for limitation periods. The Committee recommended the following changes to the law, among others:

(a) The Act should be amended to provide specifically for a limitation period of six years for restitutionary claims, with a long-stop of 12 years in respect of actions in which relief is sought from the consequences of mistake, whether of law or fact.

(b) There should be a ‘sweeping-up’ or default limitation provision which should apply to all civil claims where no provision is made for such claims in the Act or in any other written law.

(c) For defamation actions, the current limitation period of six years from accrual of the cause of action should be modified to three years from the date when the publication or communication first comes to the actual knowledge of the pursuer, with a long-stop of 15 years from the date of publication.

Project status: Completed

  • The report was published in February 2007.
  • The report has been cited in numerous court judgments:
    • Yunani bin Abdul Hamid v Public Prosecutor [2008] SGHC 58, [2008] 3 Singapore Law Reports (Reissue) [SLR(R)] 383 at paragraph 65, High Court.
    • Lian Kok Hong v Ow Wah Foong [2008] SGCA 30, [2008] 4 SLR(R) 165 at paragraph 13, Court of Appeal.
    • Desert Palace Inc (doing business as Caesars Palace) v Poh Soon Kiat [2009] SGCA 60, [2010] 1 SLR 1129, Court of Appeal, interpreting section 6(1) of the Limitation Act.
    • Panweld Trading Pte Ltd v Yong Kheng Leong (Loh Yong Lim, third party) [2012] SGHC 57, [2012] 2 SLR 672 at paragraph 62, interpreting section 6(7) of the Act.
    • OMG Holdings Pte Ltd v Pos Ad Sdn Bhd [2012] SGCA 36, [2012] 4 SLR 231 at paragraph 46, Court of Appeal, noting the Committee’s recommendation that a limitation period of six years for restitutionary claims should be introduced.
    • eSys Technologies Pte Ltd v nTan Corporate Advisory Pte Ltd [2015] SGHC 238, [2015] 5 SLR 819 at paragraphs 29–31, High Court, noting that the Committee had made a cogent case for affecting an absolute limitation period in section 20(5) of the Civil Law Act (Chapter 43, 1999 Revised Edition), but that this had not yet been implemented.
    • UAM v UAN [2017] SGHCF 10, [2018] 4 SLR 1086 at paragraph 97, High Court.
    • Syed Almagdad bin Syed Faraj (administrator of the estate of Musoling bin Faraj, deceased) v India International Insurance Pte Ltd (personal representative of the estate of Chellappan Chivadasan, deceased) [2019] SGMC 18 at paragraphs 41–42, Magistrate’s Court, disagreeing with the reasoning in part of the report.
  • The report was mentioned in the chapter “Remedies in Tort” in Gary Chan Kok Yew and Lee Pey Woan’s work The Law of Torts in Singapore (1st ed) (Singapore: Academy Publishing, 2011) at page 761, paragraph 20.109, footnote 215; and in the 2nd edition (2016) at page 869, paragraph 20.135, footnote 282.

Areas of law

Civil procedure


Report on the Review of the Limitation Act (Cap 163)

Click on the image above to view the report

Last updated 23 May 2019