Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 62 – Legal Timelines

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie

Legal Timelines


In law precision in terminology is vital to prevent misinterpretations. Today we look some frequently used legal terms relating to time constraints (restrizioni temporali).

Statute of Limitations (prescrizione):

  • Statute of Limitations is a law which establishes the maximum time frame (periodo di tempo) within which a legal action can be initiated for a specific type of case. After this period old claims (rivendicazioni/cause) cannot be brought.

Term (termine):

  • This means the duration or period for which an agreement remains effective. Here is an example of the term of the contract:
    The Agreement shall commence on [date | the date of this Agreement], and continue for a period of [2] years and thereafter terminate.

Deadline (scadenza):

  • Deadline is the latest time or date by which something should be completed, but deadlines are not usually related to statues (leggi). They are imposed by people, events, institutions, etc.

Time Limit (vincolo temporale):

  • This is a very general expression and can be used in most situations, even as a substitute for Statute of Limitations and Deadlines, but not for the Term of a contract.

So we can say that “Statute of Limitations” is a time limit that comes from a law which sets the maximum time for commencing legal actions, while “Term” relates to contractual provisions. Deadline” specifies time-sensitive tasks, and ‘time limit’ encompasses various temporal constraints.

Thank you very much, and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your legal English.

See how a “statue of limitations” memo is drafted here: “Statute Of Limitations

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