Seaton v Seddon [2012] EWHC 735 (Ch), [2012] MHLO 28

Chancery case partly involving, in relation to the fourth claimant, consideration of the effect of mental incapacity on statutory limitation periods. (1) If a claimant is under one disability (minority) when the cause of action accrued, and subsequently under a second overlapping disability (mental incapacity), the limitation period does not run until he is no longer under the second disability. (2) The question of disability for the purpose of limitation should be determined under the law as it stood when the proceedings were commenced (in this case: whether he was 'of unsound mind [meaning that he] by reason of mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, is incapable of managing or administering his property and affairs' rather than the new test of whether he 'lacks capacity (within the meaning of the Mental Capacity Act 2005) to conduct legal proceedings'. (3) On the facts, the fourth claimant was not 'of unsound mind'; hence he would not meet the new test either.


Before: Roth J

Judgment: 23/03/2012

Hearing dates: 14th, 15th and 21st November 2011

John BRISBY QC, Tim LUDBROOK and Michael SMITH (instructed by Edwin Coe LLP) for the Claimants

Joanna SMITH QC (instructed by Clyde & Co LLP) for the 1st to 5th Defendants

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