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Equity and the Law of Trusts in the Republic of Ireland

Delay Defeats Equity

In Chapter 3: The Maxims of Equity

Equity and the Law of Trusts in the Republic of Ireland

Author:
Ronan Keane
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Professional
Edition:
Second edition
Publication Date:
2011
Law As Stated At:
1 September 2011
[3.33] Equity has traditionally been reluctant to come to the aid of claimants who are unduly slow in asserting their rights, an attitude enshrined in the tag, vigilantibus, non dormientibus, jura subveniunt, ie, ‘the law assists the vigilant, not those who sleep’. Smith v Clay (1767) 3 Bros Cl 639n at 640n. Hence delay, if it takes the form of what has come to be called ‘laches’ , provides in certain circumstances a defence to equitable claims. But it would be dangerous to assume that even a lengthy period of inaction on the plaintiff’s part, stretching over a number of years, will necessarily of itself lead to the dismissal of his claim. In this context, the operation of the Statute of Limitations 1957 is important. Claims at common law have been affected by limitation periods imposed by statutes for centuries. See Brady and Kerr, Limitation of Actions in the Republic ...
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