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39. As noted above, section 32A of the Limitation Act 1980 currently gives the court a discretion to extend the limitation period where it is equitable to do so. When deciding whether to exercise this power, the court is required to have regard to the length of, and reasons for, the delay on the part of the claimant. Where the delay was due to the claimant being unaware of all or any of the facts that are essential to the cause of action, it is relevant to consider the date on which the facts became known to him and whether in the circumstances he acted promptly and reasonably once he knew that he might have a cause of action. Regard should also be had to the likely unavailability or lack of cogency of evidence by virtue of the action having been brought beyond the normal limitation period. Examples of instances where extensions have been respectively denied and allowed are the cases of Steedman and Others v British Broadcasting Corporation21 and Wood v West Midlands Police.22

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