HL Deb 06 August 1980 vol 412 cc1583-4WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are aware of the concern, felt particularly in the construction industry and among the professions, that, as a result of recent court decisions, their members may remain open to claims in respect of latent damage many years after the alleged negligent act or omission.


Yes. The Law Reform Committee touched on this problem in its 21st Report (1977 Cmnd. 6923) which dealt with the law of limitation. However, in view of the concern mentioned by my noble friend, I think that the Law Reform Committee ought to have an opportunity to consider latent damage as a separate subject and I have therefore invited the committee to consider the law relating to—

  1. (i) the accrual of the cause of action, and
  2. (ii) limitation
in negligence cases involving latent defects (other than latent disease or injury to the person) and to make recommendations.

At the same time, my noble and learned friend Lord Scarman has agreed to become the chairman of the Committee in place of Sir Alan Orr who retired recently. I would like to take this opportunity of expressing my thanks to Sir Alan for the distinguished contribution he has made to the work of the Committee, both as member and Chairman, during the last fourteen years.