South Australian Current Acts

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48—General power to extend periods of limitation

        (1)         Subject to this section, where an Act, regulation, rule or by-law prescribes or limits the time for—

            (a)         instituting an action; or

            (b)         doing any act, or taking any step in an action; or

            (c)         doing any act or taking any step with a view to instituting an action,

a court may extend the time so prescribed or limited to such an extent, and upon such terms (if any) as the justice of the case may require.

        (2)         A court may exercise the powers conferred by this section in respect of any action that—

            (a)         the court has jurisdiction to entertain; or

            (b)         the court would, if the action were not out of time, have jurisdiction to entertain.

        (3)         This section does not—

            (a)         apply to criminal proceedings; or

            (b)         empower a court to extend a limitation of time prescribed by this Act unless it is satisfied—

                  (i)         that facts material to the plaintiff's case were not ascertained by him until some point of time occurring within twelve months before the expiration of the period of limitation or occurring after the expiration of that period and that the action was instituted within twelve months after the ascertainment of those facts by the plaintiff; or

                  (ii)         that the plaintiff's failure to institute the action within the period of the limitation resulted from representations or conduct of the defendant, or a person whom the plaintiff reasonably believed to be acting on behalf of the defendant, and was reasonable in view of those representations or that conduct and any other relevant circumstances,

and that in all the circumstances of the case it is just to grant the extension of time.

        (3a)         A fact is not to be regarded as material to the plaintiff's case for the purposes of subsection (3)(b)(i) unless—

            (a)         it forms an essential element of the plaintiff's cause of action; or

            (b)         it would have major significance on an assessment of the plaintiff's loss.


In a case involving personal injury, a fact might qualify as a fact material to the plaintiff's case if it establishes—

            (a)         a substantial reduction of the plaintiff's capacity to work; or

            (b)         that the plaintiff will require substantially more medical care than previously expected; or

            (c)         a significant loss of expectation of life.

        (3b)         In determining whether it is, in all the circumstances of a case, just to grant an extension of time, the court should have regard to—

            (a)         the period of extension sought and, in particular, whether the passage of time has prejudiced a fair trial; and

            (b)         the desirability of bringing litigation to an end within a reasonable period and thus promoting a more certain basis for the calculation of insurance premiums; and

            (c)         the nature and extent of the plaintiff's loss and the conduct of the parties generally; and

            (d)         any other relevant factor.

        (4)         Where an extension of time is sought pursuant to this section in respect of the commencement of an action, the action may be instituted in the normal manner, but the process by which it is instituted must be endorsed with a statement to the effect that the plaintiff seeks an extension of time pursuant to this section.

        (5)         Proceedings under this section may be determined by the court at any time before or after the close of pleadings.

        (6)         This section does not derogate from any other provision under which a court may extend or abridge time prescribed or limited by an Act, regulation, rule or by-law.

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