A reader alerted me to a recent opinion of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales in Lehman Brothers International (Europe) v. ExxonMobil Financial Services BV,  EWHC 2699 (Comm) (here).
At issue was the meaning of the phrase close of business, as used in a notices provision in a contract. ExxonMobil submitted a notice to Lehman’s London offices at 6:02 p.m. on 22 September 2008. Was it timely? Lehman argued that close of business was 5:00 p.m.; ExxonMobil argued that it was 7:00 p.m.
As usual, I don’t care who won that particular argument (ExxonMobil). All I care about is avoiding fights. So the moral of this story is clear: don’t use the phrase close of business in contracts.
Updated 13 December 2017: Behold the following tweet by @cearta:
— Eoin O'Dell (@cearta) December 12, 2016