The definition of ‘business day’ in South African agreements often includes phrases like ‘any day on which banks are open for business in South Africa’. These words are confusing and it is sufficient to refer to a day other than a Saturday, Sunday or official public holiday.

The words have crept in from English law where they have bank holidays on which banks close. The name dates back to the UK Bank Holidays Act 1871.

It is time to move on from 1871.

The phrase has no meaning in South Africa. In this electronic age banks are open for some business 24/7. It is time to move on from 1871 and to abandon the phrase in South African law agreements.