Dies Dominicus Non Est Juridicus

Dies Dominicus Non Est Juridicus

Literal Meaning

Sunday is not a day for judicial or legal proceedings.

Explanation & Origin

Origin – This Latin maxim has its origin in the 4th of the Ten Commandments, to keep Sunday “holy”; later, Sunday was said to be the day of the week upon which Jesus resurrected.The first formal laws requiring Sunday observance was attributed by virtually all authorities to the Roman Emperor Constantine in 321 A.D. From the fifth century onwards most of Europe was under the sway of Christendom and laws requiring the observance of Sunday as part of the Christian religion became normal. The maxim was incorporated into statute in 1676 with the Sunday Obervance Act that prohibited legal proceedings or the execution of judicial service or other warrants on a Sunday except for high crimes.

Explanation – Sunday is observed by Christians as a day of rest and worship, in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection and is referred to as the Lord’s Day. With the advent of Christianity in the England, Sunday became a day of rest and worship and no contracts or legal proceedings were held on this day. This became a custom and hence was adapted by the Common Law system as a day of rest and a day in which no legal proceedings or contractual obligations could be held. Thus, Sunday is considered as a day in which no judicial or legal proceedings are conducted, in most parts of the world. 

In India as per the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 the term “public holiday” includes Sundays and any other day declared by the Central Government, by notification in the official Gazette, to be a public holiday.


When the date of maturity of a bill of exchange falls on a public holiday i.e. Sunday, the preceding business day will be the date of maturity

Case Reference

In the case of Smith v. State[1], the court in the State of Tennessee stated that the rule at common law, expressed by phrase “dies dominicus non estjuridicus”, is that judicial proceedings cannot be held or judicial acts performed on Sunday. In Jurisdictions where the common law prevails, right or authority to perform any judicial act on Sunday must be derived from statute conferring that right or authority.

The Judge in the case of Brooks v Hicks[2] while considering the principle of the maxim of law stated that it seems to be the general rule that where the day for making a payment on a non-negotiable contract falls on Sunday, failure to make in on that does not subject the promisor to liability as for default in payment, but he has the following day in which to make it.

In the case of Allstate Ins. Co. v. Stephens[3], the plaintiff’s insured house was destroyed by fire on December 1, 1974. On Monday, December 1, 1975 he sued the insurance company for the face value of the policy. This being the “standard form”, it contained the provision that “No suit or action on this policy for the recovery of any claim shall be sustainable in any court of law or equity unless all the requirements of this policy shall have been complied with, and unless commenced within twelve months next after inception of loss.” Calendar- wise, the twelve months period expired on Sunday, November 30, 1975. The insurance company raised the defence that the action was barred by the contractual limitation. The trial court ruled against the insurance company’s contention. Thus, imposing the view that Sunday is not a day for judicial or legal proceedings.

Edited by Vigneshwar Ramasubramania

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje


[1] 215 Tenn. 314

[2] 230 Ga. 500, 197 S. E. 2d 711

[3]140 Ga. App. 720, 231 S.E. 2d 470.