Reasonable time

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Reasonable time is that amount of time which is fairly necessary, conveniently, to do whatever is required to be done, as soon as circumstances permit.[1]

This phrase is a U.S. legal term that has been a topic of controversy for many years. It is generally used in reference to performing an action or remitting payment, but this is a very vague term which causes litigation problems in many court cases. Uniform Commercial Code section 2-206(2) requires that acceptance of an offer be made within a "reasonable time" if no time is specified:

Where the beginning of a requested performance is a reasonable mode of acceptance, an offeror who is not notified of acceptance within a reasonable time may treat the offer as having lapsed before acceptance.[2]

European Union law refers in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to:

  • A right to good administration:
Every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union (Article 41)
  • A right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial:
Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal previously established by law (Article 47).[3]

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