Statutes of limitations are written laws passed by a legislative body in common law to restrict the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings may be initiated. Once the statute of limitations runs out the claim is no longer valid. The intentions of these laws can facilitate the resolution in a reasonable amount of time. In civil law systems, similar provisions are typically part of the civil code or criminal code and are often known collectively as periods of prescription. There are very strict guidelines, but the cause of action dictates the statute of limitations on a civil case, where contracts, personal injury, libel and fraud cases legal or equitable remedy. These statutes can be reduced or extended to ensure a fair trial. Once a statute in a criminal actions case expires the court no longer has jurisdiction to punish the defendant.