Publications - Estate planning

Some Timely Advice on Legal Matters

At the moment in our family we are waking up every day to hear our first born tell us precisely how many sleeps until her birthday. We have a calendar up so that she can work out the days until the big day. Today there are 4 sleeps left!

Counting days in business, is similarly important (but perhaps not quite as exciting as a 7 year old’s birthday). Counting days within which court documents are due to be filed, or offers are due to expire is extremely important and there is certainly room for error.

Section 36 of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and the equivalent state statutes provide guidance in relation to how time is to be counted.

The general rule is that when calculating days, you must not include the day in which the actual act occurs.

For example, in the case of making an application to the Fair Work Commission in relation to unfair dismissal the application must be made within 21 days after the dismissal took effect. To calculate these days, you must count from the day after the dismissal takes effect with the final day being the 21st day from there.

If the relevant wording of a contract relies on the concept of clear days, for example, a party must give a notice five clear days before settlement, then the date of the notice and the date of settlement are not included in that count, there must be 5 days counted between those events.

There is also the distinction between calendar days and business days. If the number of days contemplated is not intended to mean business days, then weekends and public holidays are still counted.

Another thing to watch is the time of day when you must complete the obligation, in that the response may be required prior to close of business, and one minute past 5pm may push you out of time. Then there is the matter of whether it is close of business in one state or the other.

To avoid getting tripped up, take special notice of the way the time limits are described, and don’t be afraid to seek clarification in writing from the source if you have any doubts whatsoever.

Elspeth Ledwy is a Senior Associate at Kelly Legal and can be contacted on or at

Elspeth’s articles can be accessed on the Daily Mercury website at or you can find Elspeth’s column “Mind Your Own Business” in the Daily Mercury newspaper each Wednesday.


Send us an Enquiry


When I needed a solicitor quickly, Elspeth’s name was recommended quite a few times from family and friends. My matter was a very stressful and because I had cancer in 2008-2009 I was worried…

— Robert, Rural View

View more testimonials »

I found Elspeth to be kind and compassionate, but professional at the same time.

— KA, North Mackay

View more testimonials »

My husband and myself recently purchased a block of land at Habana and we decided to use the Team at Kelly Legal. We had the up most professionalism and the contact between us and the Kelly legal team…

— KF, Ooralea

View more testimonials »

This was our first property transaction in 48 years. Debbie always returned our phone calls straight away. She was kind to us and helped us understand what was going on and took the time to explain…

— MS & AS, Mount Pleasant

View more testimonials »

Jane's letters that she sent to others on my behalf were brilliantly written.  She always explained everything to me in down to earth terms.  Jane is very intelligent and understanding and…

— JW, Glenwood

View more testimonials »

Elspeth told us what our rights were and what we were entitled to, and she was spot on.

— SD & SD, Belgian Gardens

View more testimonials »

I was able to see an experienced lawyer the next day without going on a waiting list.

— CF, Eimeo

View more testimonials »

Individual liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation