Time is of the Essence Law and Legal Definition

"Time is of the essence" is a provision in a contract which indicates that the performance of every contractual obligation within the time frame designated in the contract is essential to avoid a breach or default of the contract.

If the parties don't include a "time is of the essence clause", a "reasonable" time for performance will be implied if a problem arises as to any timing issue. "Timing is of the essence" clauses are often included in contracts dealing with perishable goods or critical deadlines.