Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Time-Bar Clause Definition:

A clause in a contract which sets a strict deadline within which either party may bring a dispute to either a court or to arbitration.
A frequent feature of arbitration agreements, a time-bar clause sets a deadline of, for example, three months or less, within which if a party has not submitted a written claim for arbitration, any such claim is deemed waived and absolutely barred.

Such a clause replaces whatever limitation periods may be set out in a law of general application, a statute of limitations. Time-bar clauses typically impose much shorter time frames.

An example of a specific time-bar clause is the Centrocon clause.

Jurists split hairs over time-bar clauses that, after a period of time, vitiate a claim as opposed to those which merely act as a deadline within which to make a claim. Since an arbitration agreement by definition ousts the jurisdiction of a court of law to resolve a given dispute, the distinction ought to be purely academic as the dramatic result to a claimant is the same in either case.


  • McGee, A., Limitation Periods, 3rd Ed. (London: Sweet & Maxwell, 1998).

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