Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Michaelmas Term Definition:

The last, fourth of four English court terms during the calendar year.

Related Terms: Hillary Term, Easter 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 Michaelmas Term started on November16 and lasted three weeks and a day.

samples of references to Hillary and Michaelmas termsThe other Terms of the judicial calendar were known as the Hillary Term, the Easter Term and the Trinity Term.

John Bouvier, in his 1914 legal dictionary, offered this description of a "Term" and of the former four Terms in England, and reflecting that, later, circa 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 December 21.

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