Reaching The Limit: Problems With Limitation Periods, Amendments And Substitutions In Cameron Taylor Consulting Ltd v BDW Trading Ltd

Published date03 February 2022
Subject MatterCorporate/Commercial Law, Litigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Real Estate and Construction, Corporate and Company Law, Trials & Appeals & Compensation, Construction & Planning
Law FirmGatehouse Chambers
AuthorMr David Pliener

David Pliener and Tom Ames break down the Court of Appeal's recent decision in Cameron Taylor Consulting Ltd and another v BDW Trading Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 31.


The Court of Appeal's recent decision in Cameron Taylor Consulting Ltd and another v BDW Trading Ltd [2022] EWCA Civ 31 has confirmed the approach which the courts will take when dealing with amendments of claims under CPR 17.4, in circumstances where the limitation period for the amended claim has potentially expired.

Coulson LJ's judgment confirmed the correct approach for the courts when a claimant argues that their case avoids the defendant's limitation arguments was outlined in Welsh Development Agency v Redpath Dorman Long Ltd [1994] 1 WLR 1409 and Chandra v Brooke North [2013] EWCA Civ 1559. Namely, if the defendant can show that it is at least reasonably arguable that the amendment may be statute-barred, then the court should not grant leave to amend, and a new claim form must be issued. In these circumstances, claimants must demonstrate that the defendant lacks such a reasonably arguable limitation defence.

Notably, the judgment also reiterated that when claims relate to defective building design, the last date on which a designer is responsible for a negligent act or omission is the date on which a relevant drawing design is incorporated into the building. Coulson LJ, in obiter remarks, also dealt with a secondary point on the substitution of parties when the wrong company in a group is named on the claim form by mistake.

The Facts

The proceedings arose on account of structural problems which BDW Trading ("BDW") alleged they had discovered in a number of development projects. BDW first issued a claim form against AECOM with regards to a development in Croydon on 6th March 2020. On 17th March and 18th March 2020, the claim form was amended to add two further claims: against URS Corporation Ltd, and against Cameron Taylor Consulting ("CTC") for a number of blocks in a West London development. Then, on 9th June 2020, BDW issued a further application to substitute Cameron Taylor One ("CT1") for their sister company, CTC, on the claim form.

BDW's claim concerned inadequacies in CT1's structural design, and they made allegations of negligence by reference to a range of CT1's design drawings, put together in around 2005. However, the 15 year 'longstop' for negligence claims outlined in s.14B Limitation Act 1980 resulted in a cut-off date, for the sake of limitation arguments, of 18th March 2005. Consequently, BDW indicated that they would constrain their claim against CT1 to structural drawings issued before 18th...

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