Protecting the wrongdoer: civil limitation laws in historical childhood abuse claims.
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ROSS, H. . Protecting the wrongdoer: civil limitation laws in historical childhood abuse claims. International journal of children's rights [online], (accepted).
This article examines the appropriateness of applying civil limitation and related laws to adult claims in historical child abuse cases, focusing on moral and policy issues attending the use of such laws highlighted in a case that is frequently cited as the classic statement of reasons of legal policy justifying their use - the Australian case of Brisbane South Regional Health Authority v Taylor (opinion of McHugh J). It is argued that for a number of reasons unique to the position of adult claimants in historical childhood abuse cases, civil limitation and related laws are inappropriate when applied to such cases. It is maintained that ultimately such laws often give primacy to the interests of alleged wrongdoers and to the need to protect alleged wrongdoers from civil law redress in a context in which the ordinary justification for such laws is weak when weighed (among other things) against the enormity of the injury caused by the abuses complained of and the unique and acute difficulties victims often face in pursuing timely enforcement action in respect of the childhood rights allegedly violated. The article contains a review of recent developments in the law, and law reform, in several jurisdictions.