A brief summary of limitation periods in the Isle of Man

Whilst it is always advisable to try and resolve matters by agreement outside of formal court action, it is important to be aware that Isle of Man law imposes certain limitation periods for issuing formal court proceedings in the High Court of Justice. Claimants can sometimes be caught-out by this issue, which can (unless the court orders otherwise) provide a defendant with a full defence to a claimant’s claim on the basis that it has not been brought in time. As such, the purpose of this short guidance note is to broadly summarise the differing limitation periods for certain types of potential claims.

In the table below we have sought to summarise the differing limitation periods, and in respect of the various references in the table to “from the date the cause of action arose”, generally this means the date of the incident/accident/action which gave rise to the claimant’s potential claim in court. For example, in a personal injury claim that would mean from the date of the alleged incident that caused the injury, or in a contractual claim this would be from the date of the alleged breach of contract.

Type of claim Time limit
Employment claims

(in respect of claims falling to the jurisdiction of the Employment and Equality Tribunal)

3 months from the date of dismissal (or resignation in the case of constructive dismissal), or from the date of the conduct to which the complaint relates


Where the Tribunal is satisfied that it was not reasonably practicable for the complaint to be presented before the end of that period, within such further period as the Tribunal considers reasonable

A claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1982 6 months from the date on which representation with respect to the estate of the deceased is taken out (i.e. letters of administration or grant of probate)
Libel or slander/malicious falsehood 1 year from the date the cause of action arose
Personal injury or clinical negligence claims 3 years from cause of action or 3 years from date of knowledge (if later) of the injured person. This could be relevant if the significance of any injury could not reasonably have been known before 3 years after the injury causing incident happened
Fatal Accidents Act claims 3 years from date of death or 3 years from the date of knowledge of the person for whose benefit the claim is brought 
Claims based on contract 6 years from the date the cause of action arose 
Claims based on tort 6 years from the date the cause of action arose 
Claims based on contracts signed as a deed 12 years from the date the cause of action arose 
Recovery of land claims 21 years from the date the cause of action arose 
Recovering arrears of rent claims 6 years from the date the cause of action arose 
Claims to enforce a judgment 6 years from the date of judgment


If you believe that you have a cause of action but that time is running out then you should seek legal advice as a matter of urgency so that your Advocate can consider your potential claim and advise upon the issue of limitation. Ultimately, if limitation is approaching your Advocate may be able to negotiate a standstill agreement (which effectively “stops the clock” for limitation) to allow pre-action negotiations to continue, or alternatively, may recommend protective proceedings being issued at court in order to prevent any argument being raised by the Defendant of the potential claim being time-barred.

DQ has a leading Dispute Resolution department on the Isle of Man. If you would like further information or assistance in respect of this issue, please contact either Jessica McManus or Alexander Armstrong.


The information and/or opinion contained in this note is necessarily brief and general in nature and does not constitute legal advice. Appropriate legal or other professional advice should be sought for any specific matter. Any reliance on such information and/or opinion is therefore solely at the user’s own risk and DQ Advocates Limited (and its associates and subsidiaries) is not responsible for, and does not accept any responsibility or liability in connection with, any action taken or reliance placed upon such content.

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