Local Usage Law and Legal Definition

Local usage refers to a method or practice regularly observed in a particular place. Courts consider local usage to interpret a document. For example, local usages governing the navigation of the waters and local usages governing trade.

Pursuant to section 1-205(b) of the Uniform Commercial Code, a usage of trade is a practice or method of dealing having such regularity of observance in a place, vocation or trade as to justify an expectation that it will be observed with respect to the transaction in question. The existence and scope of such a usage are to be proved as facts. When it is established that such a usage is embodied in a written trade code or similar writing, the interpretation of the writing is for the court.

In Miller v. Wiggins, 227 Pa. 564 (Pa. 1910), the court held that “to bind a party by local usage, or the usage of a particular trade or profession, he must be shown to have had knowledge or notice of its existence.”