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Statutory limitation period for civil proceedings in Hong Kong


Pursuant to the current framework under Hong Kong Law, the statutory limitation period for commencing a civil proceeding is as follow:

(1) For breaches on commercial contracts, the limitation period for commencing an action is 6 years from the date of the breach;
(2) For personal injury cases, the limitation period is 3 years, starting from either the day on which the injury occurred, or from the day on which the Plaintiff has knowledge of the fact that the Defendant has caused the injury;
(3) For injuries incurred in the course of employment, the limitation period is 2 years from the day on which the accident occurred and caused the injury;
(4) For claims regarding rent, the limitation period is 6 years;
(5) For claims regarding trust properties, the limitation period is 6 years.

Nevertheless, there are circumstances where the limitation period may vary. For example, the general limitation period for commencing any claim on breach of contract or tortious right is 6 years. However, there are certain situations where one is allowed to extend or disregard the limitation period. If it appears that it would be equitable, the court has absolute power to override and disregard the statutory limitation period. It is however, recommended that one should not wait until the last moment to file the claim despite the statutory limitation period in Hong Kong.

Litigation under the Common Law regime of Hong Kong is a complicated and sophisticated process. This article is merely a brief summary for general reference, and should not be considered as legal advice for any specific matter. Should you be in need of litigation advice or assistance, please contact Mr. Zhang Yuanhong, practicing solicitor in Hong Kong, for consultation.

This article is written by the author according to his own understanding and practical experience. It is not a specific legal opinion or suggestion for a case. All lawyers, friends and readers, when encountering specific cases, please consult your specific case handling lawyers and take their opinions as the standard。