Time is of the essence

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For the album by Michael Brecker, see Time Is of the Essence.

"Time is of the essence" is a term in British and United States contract law that indicates that the parties to the agreement must perform by the time to which the parties have agreed if a delay will cause material harm. However, in the case of Foundation Development Corp. v. Loehmann's Inc. 788 P.2d 1189 (Ariz. 1990), in which the lease included a Time is of the essence clause, the court ruled a minor delay did not cause material harm and thus no breach of contract occurred.[1]

Compare this to an "express clause", where a specific contract term must be performed to avoid breach, such as in the court decision in Dove v. Rose Acre Farms, Inc. 434 N.E.2d 931 (Ct. App. Ind. 1982).[2]

Contrast this with reasonable time, where a delay in performing may be justified if it is reasonably required, based upon subjective circumstances such as unexpected weather.[3]


  1. ^ "Foundation Development Corp. v. Loehmann's, Inc". CaseBriefs. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Dove v. Rose Acre Farms, Inc". CaseBriefs. Retrieved May 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ Bryan A. Garner, ed. (2001). Black's Law Dictionary (2nd Pocket ed. ed.). West Publishing Company. p. 584. ISBN 978-0314257918.