Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Day Definition:

A consecutive period of 24 hours.

Related Terms: Clear Days, Calendar Day

A legal term heavily altered from common law form to whatever is stated in a relevant statute.

But even in the common law, the term day has caused difficulty such that a concept of clear days has evolved to provide greater certainty.

One of the first issues was distinguishing day in terms of day-time and night-time. In an Australian case, Taig, Justice Herring wrote:

"In my opinion ... the word day should be read as meaning a calendar day. The section contemplates a day being specified as a day of acute fire danger . . . and that specification would naturally be achieved by reference to a calendar day, a certain day in the week or the month.... It is true, of course, that in an appropriate setting the word day does denote the period between sunrise and sunset. Day is there used in contradistinction to night. The day ends and the night begins."

In Cornfoot, Justice Mathew said of a clause in an insurance policy referring to 30 days:

"The expression 30 days in the policy must be construed as meaning ... thirty consecutive periods of twenty-four hours...."


  • Cornfoot v Royal Exchange Assurance Corp (1904) 1 KB 40
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, Legal Definition of Clear Days
  • Lancashire & Yorkshire Rly Co v Swann (1916) 1 KB 263
  • Nielsen v Wait 16 OBD 67 (1885)
  • Taig v Fawcett 1962 VR 58 (Australia)


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