Summary

From Wikipedia (referring to the modern day):

The legal year, in English law as well as in other common law jurisdictions, is the calendar during which the judges sit in court. It is traditionally divided into periods called “terms.”

In England, the year is divided into four terms:

Michaelmas term - from October to December
Hilary term - from January to April
Easter term - from April to May, and
Trinity term - from June to July.

Between terms, the Courts are in vacation, and no trials or appeals are heard in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. The legal terms apply to the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme courts only, and so have no application to the Crown Court, county courts, or magistrates’ courts. The longest vacation period is between July and October. The dates of the terms are determined in law by a Practice Direction in the Civil Procedure Rules. The Hilary term was formerly from January 11 to 31, during which superior courts of England were open.

1 Annotation

Bill  •  Link

TERM, [in law] is the Bounds and Limitation of time; or a fixed and limited time, when the Courts of Judicature are open for all Law Suits, and there are four of those in a Year.
HILARY TERM, begins January the 13th, (except it be Sunday) and ends February 12.
EASTER TERM, begins the Wednesday fortnight after Easter Day, and ends the Monday after Ascension Day.
TRINITY TERM, begins the Friday after Trinity Sunday, and ends the Wednesday fortnight after.
MICHAELMAS TERM, begins October 23, (except it be Sunday) and ends November 28.
---An universal etymological English dictionary. N. Bailey, 1724.

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References

Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.

1660

1661

1662

1663

1664

1666

1667

1669