Statute Of Limitations

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Statute Of Limitations'

A statute of limitations is a law which sets out the maximum time that parties have to initiate legal proceedings from the date of an alleged offense. The precise form of a statute of limitations differs from one jurisdiction to the next. In general, the length of time allowed under a statute of limitations varies depending upon the severity of the offense. For example, breach of contract cases may only be brought within a few years after the event. However, cases involving serious crimes like murder typically have no maximum time period under a statute of limitations.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Statute Of Limitations'

A statute of limitations is sometimes controversial due to cases where legal action cannot be brought against an offender because the maximum length of time has elapsed. Proponents of a statute of limitations argue that, for practical reasons, it is most equitable to limit the initiation of legal proceedings to a reasonable period after the event. As time goes on, important evidence may be lost and the memories of witnesses can grow foggy. Legal proceedings brought under these circumstances may not be fair to all parties.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Common Law

    In the United States, a body of unwritten laws based on precedents ...
  2. Breach Of Contract

    Violation of any of the agreed-upon terms and conditions of a ...
  3. Default

    1. The failure to promptly pay interest or principal when due. ...
  4. Power Of Attorney

    A legal document giving one person (called an "agent" or "attorney-in-fact") ...
  5. Zombie Debt

    A type of bad debt that is so old a person may have forgotten ...
  6. Obligation

    The legal responsibility to meet the terms of a contract. If ...
Related Articles
  1. Credit & Loans

    Do I still owe debt collectors for a debt that's past the statute of limitations for my state?

    Learn more about the statutes of limitations that govern certain personal debts and why you maintain obligations as a debtor even if the statute has expired.
  2. Credit & Loans

    How do debt collection agencies make money?

    Find out how a collection agency makes money, what rules it is bound by, and when it can take a pay check or garnish a bank account.
  3. Credit & Loans

    Can a debt collector contact me about a debt that's no longer on my credit report?

    Learn about the circumstances that allow a debt collector to contact a consumer about a past due debt that is not on a credit report.
  4. Credit & Loans

    What debts don't have a statute of limitations applied to them?

    Learn what it means to have a statute of limitations applied to a debt, and find out which debts typically do not have a time limit for legal collection.
  5. Credit & Loans

    When does the statute of limitations clock start on my debts?

    Learn how states treat statutes of limitation on consumer debts, and find out what it means if the statute of limitations on your debt expires.
  6. Retirement

    Build A Wall Around Your Assets

    Learn how to protect your money from lawsuits, creditors and other judgment proceedings.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    Don't Get Sued: 5 Tips To Protect Your Small Business

    Find out what you can do to limit risk and keep your business running smoothly.
  8. Home & Auto

    Cover Your Company With Liability Insurance

    Every business is susceptible to legal action. Find out how to protect yours.
  9. Personal Finance

    Dawn Of The Zombie Debt

    Are old debts coming back to haunt you? We'll show you how to keep these zombies from eating you alive.
  10. Home & Auto

    Are any arm's-length transactions disadvantageous to both parties?

    Find out why arm's-length transactions are disadvantageous when the interests of the two parties coincide and they wish to deal below the true market value.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Command Economy

    A system where the government, rather than the free market, determines what goods should be produced, how much should be ...
  2. Prospectus

    A formal legal document, which is required by and filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, that provides details ...
  3. Treasury Bond - T-Bond

    A marketable, fixed-interest U.S. government debt security with a maturity of more than 10 years. Treasury bonds make interest ...
  4. Weight Of Ice, Snow Or Sleet Insurance

    Financial protection against damage caused to property by winter weather specifically, damage caused if a roof caves in because ...
  5. Weather Insurance

    A type of protection against a financial loss that may be incurred because of rain, snow, storms, wind, fog, undesirable ...
  6. Portfolio Turnover

    A measure of how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the managers. Portfolio turnover is calculated by ...
Trading Center