Time is of the essence

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"Time is of the essence" is a term used in contract law in England and Wales, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, other Commonwealth counties and the United States expressing "the need for timely completion",[1] i.e. indicating that one or more 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 (Arizona 1990), in which the lease included a Time is of the essence clause, the court ruled that a minor delay did not cause material harm and thus no breach of contract occurred.[2]

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).[3]

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,[4] and the phrase time at large, which describes a situation where there is no date for completion, or where the date for completion has become invalid. The contractor is then no longer bound by the obligation to complete the works by a certain date.

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References[edit]

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