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STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS

any law that fixes the time within which parties must take judicial action to enforce rights or else be thereafter barred from enforcing them. Equity proceedings are governed by an independent doctrine called laches.
The enactment of such laws and invocation of the doctrine of laches to bar suits in equity derives from the belief that there is a point beyond which a prospective defendant should no longer worry about a future possibility of an action against him or her, that the law disfavors "stale evidence," and that no one should be able to "sit on his (her) rights" for an unreasonable time without forfeiting claims.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016

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