Prescription is a term used to indicate that the time period to institute legal proceedings against a debtor has lapsed. It is thus not a legal term that should be easily ignored, as having your claim prescribe might mean the end of the road for any legal proceedings against a debtor.
If in the past 3 years, the debtor has not:
- made any payment towards settling the debt; and
- acknowledged owing the money in any way or agreed to pay it; and
- been summonsed in respect of it,
The debt has prescribed, and the debtor can raise this as a defence when asked to pay such a debt.
Periods of prescription of debts
Once you have instituted action against the debtor, the period of prescription shall be thirty years in respect of:
- any debt secured by mortgage bond;
- any judgment debt;
- any debt in respect of any taxation imposed or levied by or under any law.