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Court of Appeal clarifies the meaning of Deliberately Concealed for the Purposes of Section 32 Limitation Act 1980

The Supreme Court has now delivered its long-awaited judgment in Canada Square Operations Limited v Potter.

In this case, the Supreme Court found that a claim for PPI-related compensation was not statute-barred and could be brought despite relating to a loan made over 18 years before proceedings were issued, on the grounds of deliberate concealment.

Whilst the primary limitation period had expired, the claimant sought to rely on both s32 (1) (b) and s32 (2) Limitation Act 1980 to postpone the running of time for bringing her claim.


As to deliberate concealment, s32 provides:

(1)…where in the case of any action for which a period of limitation is prescribed by this Act, either:…

(b) any fact relevant to the plaintiff’s right of action has been deliberately concealed from him by the defendant;… the period of limitation shall not begin to run until the plaintiff has discovered the… concealment…or could with reasonable diligence have discovered it…

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1) above, deliberate commission of a breach of duty in circumstances in which it is unlikely to be discovered for some time amounts to deliberate concealment of the facts involved in that breach of duty.

The Supreme Court, delivered a unanimous decision, looking first at the meaning of “concealed” which Lord Reed held was to keep something secret by taking active steps to hide it or by failing to disclose it.  Secondly, as to deliberate, Lord Reed considered that a fact would be “deliberately” concealed if the intended result of the act or omission was the concealment of the fact from the claimant.

The defendant in this case, Canada Square decided not to disclose the commission to the claimant and therefore “deliberately concealed” those facts from her.  The concealment was not discovered until November 2018 and therefore the Supreme Court held that the claimant’s claim could proceed and was not time-barred.

The Supreme Court referred to this case as a test case, stating that there were said “to be approximately 26,000.00 active claims of a similar nature”.  Therefore, this decision is expected to have significant consequences for future cases where limitation issues arise.

If you think that any claim falls under this criteria, then it’s worth reviewing.

Get in touch for further information on the ATE PPI policies which we are able to offer.

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