Table of contents

Drafting contracts

(e) References to time

22) Prefer the 24-hour system to the 12-hour system. Include both the hours and the minutes (not the seconds).

When writing times, prefer using a colon over a point between hours and minutes. Do not add hrs or o’clock11:30 h. Use a.m. and p.m. (i.e., underscores separated by points) only when you apply the 12-hour system, to indicate the morning (ante meridiem) or the afternoon (post meridiem), respectively.

For midnight either write midnight or use 24:00 (for a period of time ending then) or 00:00 (for a period of time starting then).

It is important to note that a reference to 12:00 p.m. is ambiguous. In view of the risk that a party relies on an erroneous combination of a.m. used in the 24-hour system, it is strongly recommended that a contract clause either refer to 11:59 a.m. or 00:01 p.m. as a marking point in time.

To indicate a duration use h:

the time permitted for submitting bids is 12 h. after…

Distinguish summertime (the season) from summer time (daylight-saving time); for example Middle European Summer (MEST)[1].

[1] For other denotations, see the Greenwichmeantime website.

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Drafting contracts

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