Laches Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Laches, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Laches?

(n) Doctrine of Laches limits the legal claim of a person, by virtue of any undue delay on his part in enforcing his legal right. For example, a person failed to initiate any action to recover his property, after knowing that it was used by another person. He lose his right to claim the property when he initiate the process to recover his property after consumption or transformation of the property the possessor.

History and Meaning of Laches

The doctrine of laches is a legal principle that originated from the English Courts of Chancery. It is based on the idea that a person can lose their right to bring a legal claim if they wait too long and there is some prejudice to the person against whom the claim is being made. Laches focuses on the delay in bringing the claim rather than whether the claim is valid or not. Essentially, if a person waits too long to bring a claim, they can forever lose their right to bring it.

In simple terms, laches means that a party can lose their right to pursue a legal claim if they wait too long to bring it. The focus is on the passage of time and whether the delay has caused harm to the other party.

Examples of Laches

  1. John is a landlord who discovers one of his tenants is using the property for illegal purposes. John waits several years before taking any action against the tenant. Because of John’s significant delay, he may not have the legal right to evict the tenant based on the doctrine of laches.

  2. Susan is an executor of her father’s estate. Susan waits 10 years before trying to distribute the estate’s assets to beneficiaries. Because of the significant delay, some of the beneficiaries may be able to claim that they are no longer entitled to assets under the doctrine of laches.

Legal Terms Similar to Laches

  1. Statute of limitations: A statute of limitations is a type of legal deadline that governs how long a person has to bring a legal claim. It applies to most types of legal claims and varies depending on the type of claim.

  2. Acquiescence: Acquiescence occurs when a person gives up their right to object to an action or situation by remaining silent or not asserting their rights.

  3. Waiver: A waiver is an intentional and voluntary relinquishment of a known right or claim.