Limitation in Christchurch

11 December 2015


We have recently written about the risks of limitation in Christchurch, and a timely example of a limitation case has recently been released by the High Court.   In Boyd v ANZ Bank NZ Limited the High Court struck out the plaintiffs’ claim against ANZ for alleged negligent advice provided by the bank in 2006.  The claim was struck out because the Court found that the cause of action accrued more than 6 years before the proceeding was filed (in May 2015), and therefore was time barred in accordance with the Limitation Act 1950.   The plaintiffs argued that the cause of action did not accrue until the bank’s internal complaints had been processed, and the Banking Ombudsman had completed its investigation and closed the file.  The Court rejected this argument and held that the cause of action accrued at the time the plaintiff acted on the advice (the point at which all the elements of the claim were in existence), being more than 6 years before the claim was filed.   The Court specifically considered whether limitation periods in accordance with the Limitation Act 1950 should be extended where a dispute has been submitted to alternative dispute resolution.  The Court found that parliament had not intended this to be the case, and found that the claim must be bared by limitation.  The Court also noted that the Limitation Act 2010 does not include a provision to extend time where the parties are pursuing alternative dispute resolution.   This is obviously applicable to any outstanding Earthquake claims that are engaged in alternative dispute resolution.  Alternative dispute resolution will not extend limitation periods, and we therefore recommend all insured parties with outstanding claims issue proceedings before 4 September 2016.   If you have any questions regarding insurance disputes, or limitation, please do not hesitate to contact Grimshaw and Co on 03 3658613.