Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Grand-Father Clause Definition:

A provisions in law or a contract which exempts persons already engaging in the activity which the law or contract prohibits, from adverse results from the subsequent law or contract.

In Miller, Justice Bowman of the Appellate Court of Illinois adopted these words, on the judicial record, as describing, in law, a grandfather clause:

"... an exception to a restriction that allows all those already doing something to continue doing it even if they would be stopped by the new restriction.

"In the context of the regulation of professions and occupations, a grandfather clause is a special provision made for the existing practitioner in a statute which regulates a profession for the first time."

In Eslin v Collins, Justice Roberts of the Supreme Court of Florida wrote (also in the context of the regulation of a profession):

"[A] grandfather clause exempts from the examination pre-requisite to obtaining a license, those who were already bona fide engaged in the practice of a profession being regulated for the first time. Such exception proceeds upon the theory that those who have acceptably followed the profession in the community for a period of years may be assumed to have the qualifications which others are required to manifest as a result of an examination before a board of medical experts."


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