“Civil Year”?

MSCD 10.66 explains why I’m not keen on the term calendar year as a way to avoid ambiguity over what year means. Well, at one of my recent Geneva seminars, a participant introduced me to the term civil year, meaning the twelve months beginning January 1.

And lo and behold, it’s on EDGAR. Here’s an example from a contract between a French company and a Japanese company:

In any event any Bioamber liability arising out of or in connection with this Agreement shall never be more than three (3) million Euros per civil year during which any claim was notified to Bioamber and shall never be more than three (3) million Euros per occurrence.

I’d be interested to hear from readers in civil law countries whether civil year is clear enough, and established enough, that it’s safe to use. It’s not established enough to use on U.S. readers or, I assume, Commonwealth readers.

About the author

Ken Adams is the leading authority on how to say clearly whatever you want to say in a contract. He’s author of A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting, and he offers online and in-person training around the world. He’s also chief content officer of LegalSifter, Inc., a company that combines artificial intelligence and expertise to assist with review of contracts.