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A statute of limitations, known in civil law systems as a prescriptive period, is a law passed by a legislative body to set the maximum time after an event within which legal proceedings may be initiated.[1]

When the time specified in a statute of limitations passes, a claim might no longer be filed or, if filed, may be subject to dismissal if the defense against that claim is raised that the claim is time-barred as having been filed after the statutory limitations period. When a statute of limitations expires in a criminal case, the courts no longer have jurisdiction. Most crimes that have statutes of limitations are distinguished from serious crimes as these may be brought at any time.[2]

In civil law systems, such provisions are typically part of their civil or criminal codes. The cause of action dictates the statute of limitations, which can be reduced (or extended) to ensure a fair trial.[3] The intention of these laws is to facilitate resolution within a "reasonable" length of time.[4] What amount of time is considered "reasonable" varies from country to country.[5][6] In the United States, it may vary from state to state.[5] Within countries, the statute of limitations may vary from one civil or criminal action to another. Some countries have no statute of limitations whatsoever.

Analysis of a statute of limitations also requires the examination of any associated statute of repose, tolling provisions, and exclusions.

Officer of the co

Officer of the court in general includes any judge, law clerk, court clerk, lawyer, investigator, probation officer, referee, legal guardian, parenting-time expeditor, mediator, evaluator, administrator, special appointee, and/or anyone else whose influence is part of the judicial mechanism.[54]

In tort law, if any person or entity commits a series of illegal acts against another person or entity (or in criminal law if a defendant commits a continuing crime) the limitation period may begin to run from the last act in the series.[55] The entire chain of events can be tolled if the violations were continuing. The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has explained that the continuing-violations doctrine "tolls the statute of limitations in situations where a continuing pattern forms due to discriminatory acts occurring over a period of time, as long as at least one incident of discrimination occurred within the limitations period."[56] Whether the continuing-violations doctrine applies to a particular violation is subject to judicial discretion; it was said to apply to copyright infringement in the jurisdiction of the Seventh Circuit,[57] but not in the jurisdiction of the Second Circuit.[58][59]

See also