Doctrine of Relation Back Law and Legal Definition

Doctrine of Relation Back is a principle that something done today will be treated as if it were done earlier. This doctrine is applied under certain circumstances. For example, a document held in escrow and then delivered later will be treated as if delivered when it was put into escrow. Delivery of deed to the grantee relates back to the date it was originally deposited with the escrow agent.

Under federal civil procedure, an amended pleading may relate back, for purposes of the statute of limitations, to the time when the original pleading was filed.

The relevant law as it appears in the statue:

USCS Fed Rules Civ Proc R 15 (c) Relation Back of Amendments.

(1) When an Amendment Relates Back. An amendment to a pleading relates back to the date of the original pleading when:

(A) the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back;

(B) the amendment asserts a claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set out--or attempted to be set out--in the original pleading; or

(C) the amendment changes the party or the naming of the party against whom a claim is asserted, if Rule 15(c)(1)(B) is satisfied and if, within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for serving the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by amendment:

(i) received such notice of the action that it will not be prejudiced in defending on the merits; and

(ii) knew or should have known that the action would have been brought against it, but for a mistake concerning the proper party's identity.