Massachusetts law about time

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on computation of time.

Table of Contents

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.4, s.7: Definition of statutory terms; Statutory construction
"Nineteenth, "Month'' shall mean a calendar month, except that, when used in a statute providing for punishment by imprisonment, one "month'' or a multiple thereof shall mean a period of thirty days or the corresponding multiple thereof; and "year'', a calendar year."

MGL c.4, s.9: Time for performance of acts performable on Sunday or holiday
"Except as otherwise provided, when the day or the last day for the performance of any act, including the making of any payment or tender of payment, authorized or required by statute or by contract, falls on Sunday or a legal holiday, the act may, unless it is specifically authorized or required to be performed on Sunday or on a legal holiday, be performed on the next succeeding business day."

MGL c.4, s.10: Daylight Saving Time

Federal laws

15 USC 260-267: Time
Federal law covering time zones and daylight saving time.

Court rules

Mass. Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 14: Computation and Extension of Time

Mass. Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 6: Time

Mass. Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 46: Time

Mass. Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure Rule 6: Time

Time standards

Time standards for civil cases filed in District and Boston Municipal Court Departments (Joint Standing Order 2-04)

Time standards for criminal cases filed in the District and Municipal Court Departments (Joint Standing Order 3-04)

Time standards for cases filed in the Housing Court (Standing Order 1-04)

Juvenile Court time standards (Standing Order 2-07)

Time standards for cases filed in the Land Court Department (Standing Order 1-04)

Case Management and Time Standards for Cases Filed in the Probate and Family Court Department (Standing Order 1-06)

Probate and Family Court Scheduling Practices and Procedures

Superior Court time standards (Standing Order 1-88)

Superior Court criminal case management (Standing Order 2-86: amended) 

Selected case law

Bemis v. Leonard, 118 Mass. 502 (1875)
"In this Commonwealth, the general rule, as applied in a variety of circumstances, and now well established, is, that in computing time from the date, or from the day of the date, or from a certain act or event, the day of the date is to be excluded, unless a different intention is manifested by the instrument or statute under which the question arises."

Booker v. Chief Engineer of the Fire Department of Woburn, 324 Mass. 264 (1949)
"The word 'day' when not qualified means a calendar day...And a calendar day is the space of time that elapses between two successive midnights."

Comm. v. Melo, 65 Mass.App.Ct. 674 (2006)
Defendant challenged length of incarceration, arguing that the extra days in leap years must be counted. The court determined that "Simply stated, the defendant was sentenced to a term of years, not to a term of days or months, and a calendar year is one year of the defendant's sentence regardless of the number of days which comprises any particular year."

Stevenson v. Donnelly, 221 Mass. 161 (1915)
"In computing any period of time less than a week, Sunday is to be excluded ." Also: unless there is specific evidence to the contrary, days means full days and not "a projection of the exact hour of the first day permitted by the earlier statute to the same hour" on the final day

Thayer v. Felt, 21 Mass. 354 (1826)
Where a time period is longer than one week, Sundays are counted unless they are expressly excluded

Thornton v. Civil Service Commission, 80 Mass.App.Ct. 441 (2011)
The requirement for a hearing prior to a suspension of more than five days in the civil service laws, MGL c.31, s.41 , "we conclude that the words "a period of five days" must be read... to describe a single, continuous period covering five twenty-four hour days."

Web sources

Official US Time 
Find out what time it is right now anywhere in the country.

When Does Daylight Time Begin and End?, US Naval Observatory
Provides the dates of the change, links to the laws, and a brief history



Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only


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Last updated: September 20, 2018


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