Computation of Time in the California Code of Civil Procedure


By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

Computation of time is very important in any California lawsuit.  Litigants, attorneys and support staff should be aware of how to calendar important dates and deadlines.   The answer can generally be found in the California Code of Civil Procedure section 12, Computation of Time.  That section reads, as of the date of this post:

“The time in which any act provided by law is to be done is computed by excluding the first day, and including the last, unless the last day is a holiday, and then it is also excluded.”   This section is probably going to stay in effect for awhile, it was originally enacted 140 years ago  in 1872.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 12 is modified by section 12a, which was added in 1933, and as of this writing, last amended in 2007.  It reads, as of the date of this post:

(a) if the last day for the performance of any act provided or required by law to be performed with a specified period of time is a holiday, then that period is hereby extended to and including the next day that is not a holiday.  For purposes of this section, “holiday” means all day on Saturdays, all holidays specified in Section 135 and, to the extent proved in Section 12b, all days that by terms of Section 12b are required to be considered as holidays.

(b) This section applies to Sections 659, 659a, and 921, and to all other provisions of law providing or requiring an act to be performed on a particular day or within a specified period of time, whether expressed in this or any other code or statute, ordinance, rule, or regulation.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 135 reads, as of the date of this post:

   Every full day designated as a holiday by Section 6700 of the Government Code, including that Thursday of November declared by the President to be Thanksgiving Day, is a judicial holiday, except September 9, known as “Admission Day,” and any other day appointed by the President, but not by the Governor, for a public fast, thanksgiving, or holiday.  If a judicial holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, the Judicial Council may designate an alternative day for observance of the holiday.  Every Saturday and the day after Thanksgiving Day is a judicial holiday.  Officers and employees of the courts shall observe only the judicial holidays established pursuant to this section.

This section was added in 1985, and last amended in 2001.  Government Code section 6700 reads, as of the date of this post:

The holidays in this state are:

(a) Every Sunday.

(b) January 1st.

(c) The third Monday in January, known as “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.”

(d) February 12th, known as “Lincoln Day.”

(e) The third Monday in February.

(f) March 31st known as “Cesar Chavez Day.”

(g) The last Monday in May.

(h) July 4th.

(i) The first Monday in September.

(j) September 9th, known as “Admission Day.”

(k) The second Monday in October, known as “Columbus Day.”

(l) November 11th, known as “Veterans Day.”

(m) December 25th.

(n) Good Friday from 12 noon until 3 p.m.

(o) Every day appointed by the President or Governor for a public fast, thanksgiving, or holiday.

Except for the Thursday in November appointed as Thanksgiving Day, this subdivision and subdivisions (c) and (f) shall not apply to a city, county, or district unless made applicable by charter, or by ordinance or resolution of the governing body thereof.

If the provisions of this section are in conflict with the provisions of a memorandum of understanding reached pursuant to Chapter 12 (commencing with Section 3560) of Division 4 of Title 1, the memorandum of understanding shall be controlling without further legislative action, except that if those provisions of a memorandum of understanding require the expenditure of funds, the provisions shall not become effective unless approved by the Legislature in the annual Budget Act


California Code of Civil Procedure sections 659 and 659a pertain to motions for new trials, and section 921 has to do with continuance of an attachment after an appeal by levying party.

The computation of time continues with California Code of Civil Procedure section 12b, which reads as of the date of this posting:

If any city, county, state or public office, other than a branch office, is closed for the whole of any day, insofar as the business of that office is concerned, that day shall be considered as a holiday for the purposes of computing time under Sections 12 and 12a.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 12b was added by the legislature in 1951.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 12c reads, at the time of this posting:

(a) Where any law requires an act to be performed no later than a specified number of days before a hearing date, the last day to perform that act shall be determined by counting backward form the hearing date, excluding the day of the hearing as provided in Section 12.

(b) Any additional days added to the specified number of days because of a particular method of service shall be computed by counting backward form the day determined in accordance with subdivision (a).

This section was added by the statutes of 2010, A.B. 2119.  I was curious to see the legislative history of this bill.  It was introduced on February 18, 2010 by Assemblymember Van Tran, a Republican from Orange County.  The bill, as introduced, is exactly as shown in the chaptered version shown above.  According to a biography I found online, he was the managing partner of a law firm before being elected to the Assembly.

No votes were cast against A.B. 2119.  The bill was sponsored by the State Bar of California Committee on Administration of Justice.   The bill was supported by the California Judges Association CompuLaw, LLC, Consumer Attorneys of California, the Judicial Council of California, and the San Francisco Association for Docket Calendar & Court Services.

Why was this law needed?  According to the Senate Committee Analysis dated June 9, 2010:

California law provides deadlines for notice to be given of hearings on certain motions and deadlines for service and filing of motions, oppositions, and replies thereon. Prior to 2004, the Code of Civil Procedure calculated by calendar days the service of specified moving, supporting, and opposing papers regarding motions and other hearings, the deadline for the completion of discovery proceedings prior to trial, and the deadline for a demand for the exchange of information concerning expert witnesses prior to trial. AB 3078 (Assembly Judiciary Committee, Chapter 171, Statutes of 2004) and AB 3081 (Committee on Judiciary, Chapter 182, Statutes of 2004), among other things, revised those deadlines by referring to court days rather than calendar days. This bill would further clarify the method for calculating these deadlines by providing that they would be calculated by counting backward from the date of the scheduled hearing and would exclude the hearing date.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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