Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Pro Tempore Definition:

Latin: something done temporarily only and not intended to be permanent.

Often presented in abbreviated form as in pro tem; a pro tem judge being described as follows in Hardagon v Silk:

"... elected or appointed to act for, and in the absence, sickness, or disqualification of, the regular judge..... A judge pro tem is only a substitute judge and not a duplicate judge."

 In his 1897 American law dictionary, jurist John Bouvier rendered the Latin-English translation as follows:

"Pro tempore: for the time being; temporary."

It forms part of another maxim, pro tempore existente which, according to Thomas Tayler, means:

"Existing for the time being."

The chair-person of an assembly may have to give up the presidency for a matter in which he or she has a potential conflict of interest. In that event, a temporary chair is chosen or appointed, a chair pro tempore.

Note these words from the now repealed, 1070 version of the Canadian statute, Ontario's Municipal Act, at §77(3):

"When the office of clerk is vacant or the clerk is unable to carry on his duties through illness or otherwise, the council may appoint an acting clerk pro tempore who shall have all the powers and duties of the clerk under this and every other Act."

The 2011 Interpretation Act of Newfoundland defines pro tempore at §27(2) as:

"Pro tempore: temporarily/for the time being."

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