How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask CaseLaw Your Own Question
CaseLaw, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 1264
Experience:  BCom; LLB; Masters in Law
Type Your South Africa Law Question Here...
CaseLaw is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

If someone threatens to sue you, what is the time period for

Customer Question

If someone threatens to sue you, what is the time period for them to officially sue you for civil and criminal cases in south africa? Can one claim for damages based on emotional stress?
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I need to see the acts so that I know from how long they have to take action. The stress is unfair to an innocent person as lawyer bills are expensive
Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 month ago.

Hi there and thank you for your question,

I will try to assist you with your legal question but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

In civil cases a person (person A) has 3 years to sue the other person (person B). If person A doesn't sue person B within that 3 year period, then person B will be entitled to raise a plea (defence) of prescription. Basically this means that person A has delayed for so long that person B is entitled to be let off the hook. Prescrption is a "complete" defence, which means that once you've proved the 3 year period that's the end of the case.

Criminal matters are different, and they prescribe after 30 years.

Yes you can sue for emotional stress, but the damages would be seriously limited. Like a few thousand Rands at most. And a lawyer will cost more than that, so it's probably not worth it. Also, the emotional stress would need to be such that you simply can't function. It must be SEVERE. You can't work, you can't sleep, etc.

If you want to look at the Act, Google the "Prescription Act South Africa" - it's not actually a long Act to read.

If my answer hasn't answered all of your questions, please send me a REPLY with follow up questions so that I can continue to assist you in this same thread for as long as you need. Let me know if you need more advice - dont just rate my answer as "bad".

If my are HAPPY with my answer then please click one of the STAR ratings or the SMILEY FACES to rate my answer!

Good luck and best regards,


Expert:  CaseLaw replied 1 month ago.

Hi there again,

I see that you've read my answer and I hope that you understood the answer and that it was useful? If you have a further question please ask it, or if you need clarity on the answer please let me know.

If you're happy that I've answered your question, please leave positive feedback for me.