Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Easter Term Definition:

The second of four English court terms during the calendar year.

Related Terms: Michaelmas Term, Hillary Term, Trinity Term

Historically, the courts in England divided the calendar year into four distinct Terms, making for a predictable work schedule for the court apparatus including judges and lawyers, and also accommodating the harsh travel conditions then extant.

The Easter Term started on the Wednesday immediately after Easter, whenever Easter fell on the calendar, and then continued for three weeks and six days.

The other terms of the judicial calendar were known as the Hillary Term, Michaelmas Term and the Trinity Term.

Easter termJohn Bouvier, in his 1914 legal dictionary, offered this description of a "Term" and of former four Terms in England, reflecting that, later, as of 1914, the Terms began and ended on set dates:

"... a space of time during which a court holds a session....

"In England, Hillary Term is from January 12 to April 12; Easter (Term) from April 21 to May 29; Trinity (Term) from June 9 to July 31; and Michaelmas (Term) from October 12 to Dcember 21....

"Easter Term. In English Law. Formerly one of the four movable terms of the courts, but afterwards a fixed term, beginning on the 15th of April and ending on the 8th of May in every year, though sometimes prolonged so late as the 13th of May ...."

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