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Days of Grace

time person granted recognized

An extension of the time originally scheduled for the performance of an act, such as payment for a debt, granted merely as a gratuitous favor by the person to whom the performance is owed.

In old English practice, days of grace allowed a person an extra three days beyond the date specified in a writ summoning him or her before a court in which to make an appearance without being subject to punishment for failure to appear. This allowance of time was granted in consideration of the far distances that had to be traveled to court.

The laws and customs that regulate the commercial affairs of merchants have recognized days of grace as a means of facilitating various transactions. Three days of grace were originally allowed to give a maker or acceptor of a note, bill, or draft, in which the person is ordered to make payment according to its terms, a longer time to pay than specified by the date in the document. This practice was begun merely as a favor to those who regularly engaged in business with each other, but it soon became a custom between merchants. Eventually, the courts recognized this right, often as a result of statute; in some cases, it has become a right that must be demanded.

The phrase days of grace is sometimes used interchangeably with grace period, a term used in insurance law to denote an extension of time within which to pay a premium due on a policy, but the terms do not have identical meanings.

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