Issue on weathertightness limitation periods granted leave to Supreme Court

Last year we blogged about limitation lessons from Lee v Whangarei District Council [2015] NZHC 2777.

Ms Lee’s house was built in 2007 and early 2008. This house was not weathertight on account of defects in the exterior. Proceedings were issued by Ms Lee against the Whangarei District Council on 21 May 2014, on the basis they had negligently inspected the property during construction.

The High Court had found against Ms Lee, on the basis that she was time barred by the 6 year limitation period under the Limitations Act 1950. Since our last blog Ms Lee appealed, but the Court of Appeal also found against her (Lee v Whangarei District Council [2016] NZCA 258).

The Supreme Court has granted leave to appeal the case, but only in respect of the question of whether, under the Weathertight Homes Resolution Act 2006, the application for an assessor’s report stopped the clock for limitation purposes in respect of her claim against the Council in negligence.

The Court of Appeal had dismissed this argument on the basis that it would be inconsistent with other provisions in the Weathertight Homes Resolution Services Act  which provides that in certain circumstances the benefit of the limitation period can be preserved for subsequent or related claims. If the limitation periods for this negligence action had been stopped these provisions would be unnecessary.

 

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