Dispute Resolution - Time limits for bringing civil claims

Dispute Resolution - Our experts respond


What are the time limits for bringing civil claims?

Different time limits apply depending on the nature of the claim.


The general time limit provided by the Civil Code for the filing of a personal claim for actions that do not have a particular time limit is seven years.


The general time limit for the filing of a claim for tortious damages is one year.

Real estate claims have a 15-year time limit.


The time limit for claims to seek payment of overdue leases is five years.

Claims to seek payment of civil services rendered by lawyers, notaries, experts, custodians, interpreters, arbitrators, services provided by pharmacists, medical doctors, engineers, chemists, teachers and professors, as well as lodging and food, and the sale of provisions to non-merchants or those merchants practising in another activity, are limited to two years.


It is not permitted for the parties to agree to suspend time limits; however, individuals with the capacity to dispose of assets can waive the acquired time limit.


The above are Civil Code-governed claims.


Note that civil proceedings also include claims governed by the Code of Commerce, where the default time limitation is five years.


Claims governed by the Code of Commerce subject to civil procedure include: claims for retail sales, claims for agents’ wages, claims for transportation contracts, broker’s liability claims and insurance claims where the time limitation is one year.


Claims related to corporations and resulting relations and liabilities between shareholders or partners, as well as with regard to the company, liability of liquidators or managers of corporations, interest due on leases when charged yearly or lesser periods, for collection of negotiable instruments, wholesale activity, financial leasing and banking facilities, have a time limitation of three years.


PATTON, MORENO & ASVAT - Key contacts Dispute Resolution in Panama

Ebrahim Asvat (easvat@pmalawyers.com) | Khatiya Asvat (kasvat@pmalawyers.com) | Joaquin De Obarrio (jdeobarrio@pmalawyers.com)


PATTON MORENO & ASVAT, the experienced legal guidance you can trust.


An extract of the Dispute Resolution Guide 2021, originally published by Getting the Deal Through / Lexology