The aim of the Statute of Limitations, 1957 (also here) is to achieve a degree of certainty and finality in litigation by ensuring that unlitigated cases get barred from coming to court by the passage of too much time. Periods range from 3 and 6 years to 12 and 20 years. But no claim is allowed persist indefinitely. However, via National Public Radio‘s wonderful All Things Considered program, I’ve just heard and read about a case concerning a (restitution!) claim that may be more than 700 years old:
A group of people claiming to be the heirs of the legendary Knights Templar are suing Pope Benedict XVI, seeking more than $150 billion for assets seized by the Catholic Church seven centuries ago.
Isn’t barring cases like that what Statutes of Limitations are for? The claim has been taken in Spain, but it too has limitation (called prescription – prescripción – in good Civilian style) provisions; and I am sure that they will apply to bar the claim. It sheer audacity is breath-taking, but it would take a miracle for it to succeed.