Laches; elements

Laches is the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable length of time to do that which by exercising due diligence could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned it or has declined to assert it. [1] It has also been defined as such neglect or omission to assert a right taken in conjunction with the lapse of time and other circumstances causing prejudice to an adverse party, as will operate as a bar in equity.[2] The four elements of laches are: (a) conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims, giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made and for which the complaint seeks a remedy; (b) delay in asserting the complainant's rights, the complainant having had knowledge or notice, of the defendant's conduct and having been afforded an opportunity to institute a suit; (c) lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit; and (d) injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the complainant, or the suit is not held to be barred.

[1] Cormero vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 247 SCRA 291 [1995]; Bailon-Casilao vs. Court of Appeals, 160 SCRA 738 [1988]; Villamor vs. Court of Appeals, 126 SCRA 574 [1988]; Marcelino vs. Court of Appeals, 210 SCRA 444, 447 [1992]; Ching vs. Court of Appeals, 181 SCRA 9, 17 [1990].

[2] Heirs of Bationg-Lacamen vs. Heirs of Laruan, 65 SCRA 125 [1975]; Victoriano vs. Court of Appeals, 194 SCRA 19, 24 [1991]; Jacob vs. Court of Appeals, 224 SCRA 189, 196 [1993].