The prescriptive periods for initiating a lawsuit and notes on the prescriptive periods

Prescriptive periods is a time limit prescribed by law, upon the end of which, legal consequences arise for the subject under the conditions prescribed by law. When the prescriptive periods expires, it means that the subject loses the right to sue or ask the other party to perform an obligation. However, not any case, the prescriptive periods to initiate lawsuits are applied and when the prescriptive periods expires, the right to initiate lawsuits will be lost.

In this article, LMP Lawyers introduces and analyzes regulations on prescriptive periods for initiating a lawsuits and notes on prescriptive periods for enterprises to implement in case partners breach their obligations.

A. Legal provisions on prescriptive periods for initiating lawsuits

1. Regulations on prescriptive periods for initiating lawsuits

The prescriptive periods for initiating a lawsuit is the time limit for an involved party to initiate a lawsuit, as specified in Article 154 of the Civil Code 2015:

“Article 154. Commencement of prescriptive periods for initiating legal action for civil cases and prescriptive periods for requesting resolution of civil cases

  1. The commencement of the prescriptive period for initiating legal action for a civil case shall be calculated from the date on which the eligible person knows or should know that his/her legal rights or interests are infringed, unless otherwise provided by law.
  2. The commencement of the prescriptive period for requesting resolution of a civil case shall be calculated from the date when the right to request arises, unless otherwise provided by law.”

2. Some exceptions do not apply the prescriptive periods for filing a lawsuit

The cases that do not apply the prescriptive periods for initiating lawsuits are specified in Article 155 of the 2015 Civil Code:

“Article 155. Non-applicability of prescriptive periods

A prescriptive period for initiating legal action for a civil case shall not apply in any of the following cases:

  1. Request for the protection of personal rights not associated with property;
  2. Request for the protection of ownership rights, unless otherwise provided by this Code or relevant laws.
  3. Dispute over land use right as prescribed in the Law on land;
  4. Other cases as provided by law. In addition, the time periods that are not included in the prescriptive periods, there are also periods of time that are hindered by force majeure events, objective obstacles, etc.”

3. Re-commencement of the prescriptive periods for initiating a lawsuit

Regarding the disputes in civil contracts, commercial contracts, etc., the parties may re-commence the prescriptive periods for initiating lawsuits in the cases specified in Article 157 of the Civil Code 2015.

Accordingly, the prescriptive periods will be re-commenced in any of the following cases:

“a) The obligor has acknowledged part or all of its obligations to the plaintiff;

  1. b) The obligor has acknowledged or fulfilled part of its obligations to the plaintiff;
  2. c) The parties have become reconciled. “

The general option for businesses is to send a “Debt Confirmation” for the parties to confirm which lead to re-commence prescriptive periods.

B. Specific prescriptive periods

LMP Lawyers lists in the table below the prescriptive periods for initiating lawsuits for each specific case:

No. Content of disputes Prescriptive periods Time to re-commence the prescriptive periods
1 File a lawsuit in civil contract disputes 03 years From the date the claimant knows or ought to know that his/her legitimate rights and interests have been infringed. 

(Article 429 Civil Code 2015)

2 Divide the inheritance as real estate 30 years From the date of opening the inheritance 

(Article 623 Civil Code 2015)

3 Dividing the inheritance as estate 10 years
4 Confirming or denying the inherit right of the other heirs
5 Requesting the heir to perform the property obligations of the deceased person 03 years
6 Claiming for compensation 03 years From the date the claimant knows or ought to know that his/her legitimate rights and interests have been infringed. (Article 588 Civil Code 2015)
7 File a lawsuit in commercial disputes 02 years From the date the legitimate rights and interests are infringed 

(Article 319 Commercial Law 2005)

8 File a lawsuit about insurance contract disputes 03 years From the date the dispute arises 

(Article 30 Law on Insurance Business 2000)

In order to avoid the expired prescriptive periods, Client can apply the provisions on force majeure events, re-commence the prescriptive periods to initiate. At the same time, Client when conducting commercial transactions have to pay attention to the prescriptive periods, avoiding losing the right to sue when rights and interests are infringed.

The issue of prescriptive periods is considered an important issue, but it is being regulated in many different legal documents, leading to the concerned people not having a timely and comprehensive knowledge. In many cases, Client often do not know about the prescriptive periods, leading to the issuance the official documents, requesting the partner to perform obligations although the prescriptive periods has expired. Although the Court/Commercial Arbitration is still accepting it, when the opposing party requests the application of the prescriptive periods, the Court/Arbitration will dismiss the petition.

LMP Lawyers is proud to be a law firm participating and resolving the complex commercial disputes. Especially, asking the Court/Arbitration to declare the application of the prescriptive periods in many cases has turned the situation around and brought success in disputes for our Client.

Therefore, before participating in lawsuits, or as soon as you are being sued, you should consult a lawyer to efficiently protect the rights and interests.

Note: The content presented above is for reference only. Depending on different times and audiences, the above content may no longer be relevant. For detailed advice, please contact LMP Lawyers.

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