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Davidson v Aegis Defence Services (BVI) Ltd & Anor [2013] QBD (N. Wilkinson QC)


A claimant's application under section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 for an extension of time to bring a personal injury claim was refused where the delay had exacerbated the existing difficulty the court faced in properly investigating and determining liability.

The claimant applied for an extension of time in which to bring a personal injury claim against his former employer, the defendant. The claimant had participated in a training exercise that involved heavy lifting and the next day he had back pain. He complained to his training supervisor who recorded the complaint and gave advice on where to seek further medical attention.

A letter of claim was sent in 2009 by the claimant's former solicitors alleging that the defendant was negligent. Proceedings were issued in 2010 but never formally served. The claimant instructed new solicitors and issued further proceedings in 2012, outside of the primary limitation period.

Applications under section 33 had to be considered on their own particular facts. The potential for the claimant to bring a claim against his former solicitors was not a deciding factor. He had chosen to pursue his claim against the defendant as opposed to his former solicitors.

It did not follow that the defendant should have anticipated a claim following a complaint of back pain. The cogency of the evidence was never going to be satisfactory, but the delay in bringing the claim had exacerbated the difficulty of properly investigating the circumstance of the claim. The circumstances balanced in favour of the defendant and the application was refused.


  • High Court (Queen's Bench Division)
  • Friday, 15 March 2013