Statute Barred

Statute Barred 2017-04-25T13:22:10+00:00

A debt will become “Statute-Barred” if there has been no acknowledgement of the debt by you making a payment, or in writing, within the relevant limitation period, meaning the debt is legally UNENFORCEABLE

InfoThis information applies to the UK only!
If you are reading this and not living in the UK, please click on your flag at the top of the page.

If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, the limitation period is six years

Please scroll down the page for information on Scotland

Cause of Action

The cause of action is time when the limitation period starts running from, and, for simple contract debts, will usually be after one or two missed payments, although some debts may have no fixed repayment time, making the ‘cause of action’ more difficult to establish.

In England/Wales/N. Ireland, a simple contract for debt will normally be statute-barred if:

  • the bank or debt collector has not already obtained a CCJ (county court judgment) against you; and
  • you (or anyone else allegedly owing the debt if’s in joint names) have not made a payment towards the debt during the limitation period; and
  • you have not written to the bank or debt collector admitting that you owe the debt during the limitation period

Simple contract debts

Unsecured debts are things like credit cards, store cards, personal bank loans and catalogues debts. The Limitation Act 1980, refers to these as ‘simple contract debts’.

The Limitation Act 1980 says that the limitation period for simple contract debts is six years.

Read the Act here – Limitation Act 1980 – England, Wales & N.Ireland

WarningPlease note Just because your debt is statute-barred, doesn’t necessarily mean the debt collector will stop chasing you, despite having no way of legally enforcing the debt!
TipBurden of Proof Once you have told your bank or debt collector that you are disputing the debt, as you believe it to be statute-barred, then ask them for physical evidence that you have made a payment or have been in contact with them in writing, admitting the debt. The burden of proof is on them to provide this evidence.
Warning – If you are ever tempted to pay a small amount to a debt collector, please realise that this will reset the Statute of Limitation. You could also leave yourself open renewed collection efforts, or even a lawsuit, for the full amount the debt collector says you owe.

If you are in Scotland the limitation period is five years

When does it start?

The limitation period starts running for simple contract debts, generally after one or two missed payments, although some debts may have no fixed repayment time, making it more difficult to establish.

In Scotland unsecured debt will normally be statute-barred if

  • the bank or debt collector has not already obtained a decree (a court order for payment) against you; and
  • you (or anyone else allegedly owing the debt if’s in joint names) have not made a payment towards the debt during the limitation period; and
  • you have not written to the bank or debt collector admitting that you owe the debt during the limitation period

Simple contract debts

Unsecured debts are things like credit cards, store cards, personal bank loans and catalogues debts. The Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973, refers to these as ‘simple contract debts’.

The Prescription and Limitation Act says that the limitation period for simple contract debts is five years.

Read the Act here – Prescription and Limitation (Scotland) Act 1973

WarningPlease note Just because your debt is statute-barred, doesn’t necessarily mean the debt collector will stop chasing you, despite having no way of legally enforcing the debt!
TipBurden of Proof Once you have told your bank or debt collector that you are disputing the debt, as you believe it to be statute-barred, then ask them for physical evidence that you have made a payment or have been in contact with them in writing, admitting the debt. The burden of proof is on them to provide this evidence.
Warning – If you are ever tempted to pay a small amount to a debt collector, please realise that this will reset the Statute of Limitation. You could also leave yourself open renewed collection efforts, or even a lawsuit, for the full amount the debt collector says you owe.

Most importantly- Enjoy the game and have fun!