Time is of the Essence in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • United Scientific Holdings Ltd v Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of the County Borough of Burnley now The Council of the Borough of Burnley
    • House of Lords
    • 23 Mar 1977

    In commercial contracts for the sale of goods prima facie a stipulated time of delivery is of the essence, but prima facie a stipulated time of payment is not (Sale of Goods Act 1893 Section 10(1)); in a charter-party a stipulated time of payment of hire is of the essence. Nevertheless, the latter provides a classic example of a contract in which stipulations as to the time when the various steps to complete the purchase are to be taken are not regarded as of the essence of the contract.

    So upon the question of principle which these two appeals were brought to settle, I would hold that in the absence of any contra-indications in the express words of the lease or in the interrelation of the rent review clause itself and other clauses or in the surrounding circumstances the presumption is that the time-table specified in a rent review clause for completion of the various steps for determining the rent payable in respect of the period following the review date is not of the essence of the contract.

    However, where a rent review clause is associated with a true option (a "break" clause, for example), it is a strong indication that time is intended to be of the essence of the rent review clause—if not absolutely, at least to the extent that the tenant will reasonably expect to know what new rent he will have to pay before the time comes for him to elect whether to terminate or renew the tenancy (cf. Samuel Properties Ltd. v. Hayek [1972] 1 W.L.R. 1296).

    For these reasons I am of opinion that the equitable rule against treating time as of the essence of a contract is applicable to rent review clauses unless there is some special reason for excluding its application to a particular clause. The rule would of course be excluded if the review clause expressly stated that time was to be of the essence.

  • Raineri v Miles
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 06 Jul 1979

    At common law a term of a contract stipulating when the contract should be performed was always regarded as an essential term of the contract, but, as Lord Parker pointed out in Stickney v. Keeble, (1915) Appeal Cases, 586 at 415, in contracts for the sale of land equity, having a concurrent jurisdiction, did not look upon the stipulation as to time in precisely the same light.

  • Behzadi v Shaftesbury Hotels Ltd
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 31 Jul 1990

    The only way in which that can be done is by giving him notice to comply within a reasonable time. Such a notice is invariably described as one making time of the essence of the contract, although it has been justly observed that the description is not quite accurate. That is because one party cannot vary the terms of the contract on his own. In reality the notice is given in order to bring to an end, by equitable means, equity's interference with the legal rights of the parties.

  • Hare v Nicoll
    • Court of Appeal
    • 20 Dic 1965

    In my judgment, where there is a provision for the purchase of shares upon payment by a stated date, it is to be presumed, in the absence of any contrary indication, that the parties to such a contract have impliedly stipulated and mutually intend that the time of payment shall be of the essence of the contract.

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  • Sale of Goods Act 1893
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1893
    ......take place at a future time or subject to some condition thereafter. to be fulfilled the contract is ...to be of the essence of a contract of sale. Whether any other. stipulation as to time is of the ......
  • Sale of Goods Act 1979
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1979
    ......in the goods is to take place at a future time or subject to some. condition later to be fulfilled the contract is called ...essence of a contract of sale. . (2) Whether any other stipulation as to time ......
  • Law of Property Act 1925
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1925
    ......created or limited at any time out of freehold land,. become satisfied either before or after the ...by the court. S-41 . Stipulations not of the essence of a contract. 41 Stipulations not of the essence of a contract. . . ......
  • Obscene Publications Act 1959
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1959
    ......an offence against this section may be brought at any time within. twelve months from the commission of the offence; and paragraph. ...of the essence of the offence that the matter is obscene. (5) A person shall not be ......
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Effective Press Releases
    • Núm. 15-8, Diciembre 1994
    • Library Management
    • 24-27
    Stresses the importance of the effective management of the release of information to the media and the development of media relations. Considers reasons for good and bad press. Advises on the prese...
    ......}.ir:hover{cursor:pointer;}@media screen{#outline{font-family:Georgia,Times,"Times New Roman",serif;font-size:13px;margin:2em 1em;}#outline ... listed above in the opening paragraph, and this should provide the essence of the whole story; this, I am sure, is the correct interpretation of such ......
  • CD‐ROM publishing systems
    • Núm. 9-2, Febrero 1991
    • The Electronic Library
    • 97-103
    Several systems, ranging in price from about $30 000 to over $200 000, are now available to aid database publishers and other organizations in disseminating information products on CD‐ROM media.
    ......}.ir:hover{cursor:pointer;}@media screen{#outline{font-family:Georgia,Times,"Times New Roman",serif;font-size:13px;margin:2em 1em;}#outline ... e fastes t erasabl e driv e I f see k tim e i s o f th e essence , tak e a loo k a t th e LaserSto r erasabl e 5.2 5 inc h driv e ......
    • Núm. 52-2, Febrero 1996
    • Journal of Documentation
    • 163-171
    The potential significance of the World Wide Web for science and scholarship is analysed from informational, communication, and behavioural perspectives. Key factors to be taken into account are (i...
    ......}.ir:hover{cursor:pointer;}@media screen{#outline{font-family:Georgia,Times,"Times New Roman",serif;font-size:13px;margin:2em 1em;}#outline ... I f tim e i s o f th e essence , th e We b ma y b e the plac e t o go . B y visitin g th e ......
  • Pacta Sunt Servanda
    • Núm. 10-2, Abril 1947
    • The Modern Law Review
    ......}.ir:hover{cursor:pointer;}@media screen{#outline{font-family:Georgia,Times,"Times New Roman",serif;font-size:13px;margin:2em 1em;}#outline ... True, where ‘ time is of the essence of the contract ’, I might be entitled to say that the ......
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Law Firm Commentaries
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