Statute of limitations/Prescription (Ro.: prescripție, De.: ~e Verjährung, Fr.: délai de prescription, n.m./ prescription, n.f., Gr.: παραγραφή, Cz.: promlčení, Cr.: statusna ograničenja) (See also: equitable tolling, limitation of action, limitations period, statute of repose) = a norm (contained in a statute or in a law) which limitates the period of time during which a legal proceeding can be initiated, thus regulating the legal consequences of the passing of time; a means through which a right is extinguished or it is constituted.

Prescription is generally used in civil law, but a similar form  finds application in criminal law. 

Acquisitive ~ (Ro.: prescripție achizitivă, De.: ~e Ersitzung/ ~eUsukapion, Fr.: prescription acquisitive, n.f.) (See also: adverse possession, usucaption) = a way of acquiring property through continuous possession of the asset in question. It is applied in the domain of real rights.

Extinctive ~ (Ro.: prescripție extinctivă, De.: ~eVerjährung, Fr.: prescription extinctive, n.f./ prescription libératoire, n.f.) (See also: barred action, statute-barred) = represents the extinction of the right to introduce a legal action. It is applied both in public and in private law.

~ in criminal law (Ro.: prescripție penală, De.: ~eVerjährung (im Strafrecht), Fr.: prescription pénale, n.f.) = the extinction of the obligation to bear the consequences of the offender's criminal offense, due to the transition of the time period provided by law.

The prescription of criminal liability is the cause of extinction of the offender's obligation to bear the consequences of the criminal act he/she has committed, as a result of the passage of time expressly established by law.

The prescription of punishment represents the disappearance of the executive force of the decision on conviction as a result of the time passage.

The starting  point of ~ (Ro.: momentul de la care începe să curgă termenul de prescripție, De.: ~rBeginn der Verjährungsfrist, Fr.: délai de prescription, n.m) = the point in time from which the limitation period starts to run and a legal action can be introduced regarding a certain situation.


Useful links

Legislation - Limitation Act 1980 [United Kingdom] - Procedural time limits [France] - On prescription- Romanian Civil Code [Romanian] - The starting point of prescription in criminal law- Romanian Criminal Code [Romanian] – Criminal procedure (Prescription of offences) Jersey Law 1999, as revised at August 31, 2004 [United States]

Case law – Romanian Case 2234/108/2007{%22itemid%22:[%22001-86038%22]} – ECtHR, Visan v. Romania, 2008 - ECtHR, Application no. 18712/03 by Werner Hermann THIERMANN and Others against Norway ECtHR, Chamber Judgment - Shofman v. Russia, 2005

Organisations and associations - Timed Out: Statutes of Limitations and Prosecuting Corruption in EU Countries, Transparency International

Online Publications - Lewin, David, 2011, Continental European Legislative and Judicial Trends: Statute of Limitation and the Obligation to Complain About Professional Legal Malpractice in the Netherlands, – Reghini, Ionel, 2014, Observaţii privind reglementarea actuală şi viitoare a prescripţiei extinctive, Studia Iurisprudentia - Digital Media Law, 2013, Statute of Limitations, Digital Media Law Project - Moreno, Tonya, 2014, How Long to Keep State Tax Records - Statute of Limitations by State, Tax Planning: U.S.


Levy, J. Adolph, 1987, Solving statute of limitations problems, United Kingdom, Kluwer Law Book Publishers

Loubser, M. M., 1996, Extinctive Prescription, South Africa, Juta & Company

Mitrache, Constantin, 2010, Drept penal român – Partea generală, Bucureşti, Universul juridic, pp. 439-440

Reghini, Ionel, Diaconescu, Şerban,  Vasilescu, Paul, 2008, Introducere în dreptul civil, Cluj-Napoca, Sfera juridică, pp. 620-629

Pop, Liviu,  Popa, Ionuţ-Florin, Vidu, Stelian, Ioan, 2012, Tratat elementar de drept civil. Obligaţiile, Bucureşti, Universul juridic, pp. 501

Herbert, Thomas Arnold, 2011, The History of the Law of Prescription in England: Being the Yorke Prize Essay of the University of Cambridge For 1890, United Kingdom, BiblioBazaar

South African Law Reform Commission, 2003, Prescription periods, South African Law Reform Commission


By Ioana Bărăian