REUTERS | Mike Hutchings

When is a bank holiday not a bank holiday?

A funny thing happened to me recently. I was asked to consider whether a day was in fact a bank holiday and should be excluded from the calculation of when my decision was due.

It isn’t often that I (and many others) have to consider the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 (BFDA) and whether May Day is an excluded day under section 116 of the Construction Act 1996.

It’s handy that I could lay my hands on the answer. For those of you who are interested, section 80 of the BFDA provides:

“1. Bank holidays

3. Her Majesty may from time to time by proclamation appoint a special day to be, either throughout the United Kingdom or in any place or locality in the United Kingdom, a bank holiday under this Act.”

This means that any day of the year can be a public holiday, provided the Queen proclaims it. This year, that was 1 January and 3 May in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (see the 11 June 2009 edition of the London Gazette).

I for one would appreciate a few more!

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