How to Calculate the Last Day to File a Motion in California

Calendaring the last day to do something in California can seem tricky. For example, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure 1005, motions must be served and filed “at least 16 court days before the hearing.” If the papers are served by mail, this is increased by an additional five calendar days. [CCP 1005].

There are a few simple rules to make sure you properly calendar your last days in California.

Rule 1: Court Days are Different From Calendar days.

Court days are days that the court is open for business. Weekends and court holidays are not court days. Note: not all holidays are court holidays. Do a Google search of “[Your County] Court Holidays” to find a current list of holidays for the year.

Calendar days are every day that appears on a calendar, weekends and holidays included.

Rule 2: Always Count Backwards from The Date of the Hearing.

When calendaring, always start with the date of the hearing and count backwards. This is required by CCP 12c. [CCP 12c].

This is important – you can end up with different deadlines if you attempt to count forward.

Rule 3: The Day of the Hearing is Day Zero.

When counting backwards, the date of the hearing is day zero. For example, if the hearing was on the seventh, you would start counting backwards like this.

Rule 4: If Your Final Day Ends up on a Weekend or Holiday, Push it Forward to the Next Business Day

After counting your days as described above, if your deadline falls on a weekend or a holiday, your deadline gets pushed forward in time to the next business day. For example if your deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, your deadline gets pushes to Monday. [CCP 12a].

This part confuses some people, so here is the text of CCP 12a:

“If the last day for the performance of any act provided or required by law to be performed within a specified period of time is a holiday, then that period is hereby extended to and including the next day that is not a holiday. For purposes of this section, “holiday” means all day on Saturdays, all holidays specified in Section 135 and, to the extent provided in Section 12b, all days that by terms of Section 12b are required to be considered as holidays.”

(Code of Civil Procedure 12a.)
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Laws change. There is no guarantee that this information is up to date. Please read the disclaimer and do not rely on this page for legal advice. If you have a question about a legal matter, please consult an attorney.