Legal English, understandably, spends a lot of time dealing with concepts of time and the legal consequences. These are critical in contract matters. Let’s take a moment to consider just a couple of these “time phrases.”

“Time is of the essence” is a common law concept which allows for a right to terminate a contract by the non-defaulting party if a specified deadline is not achieved.

“Time is at large” is a description of a situation where there is no deadline or no longer a fixed deadline and general concepts of “within a reasonable period of time” will apply. It is particularly relevant in cases whereby  a customer causes the contractor to miss a fixed date set out in the contract and there is no express contract provision arranging for the extension of deadlines and dates etc. This can render liquidated damages clauses for delay ineffective in such circumstances.