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British Summer Time

01 July 2016

June 30th, 1916.

THE habit, so dear to Englishmen, of inventing difficulties where none exist and of seeing ambiguities in the clearest directions, has led some persons roundly to assert that the hours between which marriage must now be solemnized are nine and four, and others to ask us whether the assertion is correct. We lately heard of a marriage solemnized in a southern diocese at half-past three, on the strength of a vicar’s assurance that it would be in order, and it is necessary to point out that he was wrong, and that clergymen who do the like may find themselves in serious difficulties. The Definition of Time Act [1880] makes it clear that expressions referring to time refer to Greenwich time and not local time, as for example the solar time of Penzance or Aberystwyth, and where certain hours are specified, as in the Marriage Act of 1886, it is Greenwich time that is implied. But the Summer Time Act of this year substitutes the advanced time which we now observe for Greenwich time for all legal purposes. The Summer Time Act explicitly says that “wherever any expression of time occurs in any Act of Parliament, Order in Council, order, regulation, rule, or by-law, or in any deed, limitable notice, advertisement or other document, the time mentioned or referred to shall be held, during the prescribed period, to be the time as fixed by the Act.”


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