What is a Deeming Provision?

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Legal documents contain all sorts of clauses -- written agreements and dispositions -- that are sometimes difficult to decipher. A deeming provision is a simple clause that exists for the singular purpose of expediting legal proceedings.

Definition

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A deeming provision is a clause within a legal statute. It is inserted so that cases can proceed with no delays. The provision does this by stating the assumption that the document's recipient has received and read the paperwork within a certain frame of time, usually two days. Of course, this statement is presumptive, so deeming provisions are a type of legal fiction.

Context

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A legal fiction is sometimes included as a necessary clause, which will allow legal proceedings to take place in a timely manner and without inconvenient interruptions. Matters are thus resolved under certain conditions that are not actual. In the case of a deeming provision, the intended recipient of a legal document may not have read the material at all, but the case must nevertheless proceed.

Controversy

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Since the term "deem" is often used in legal documents to change the meaning of stated provisions, in addition to its main purpose of creating legal fictions, many scholars have called for a change in either the language or its use. Some argue that using a different term would make its purpose clearer and more specific, while others advocate for its abolition except in cases of a necessary legal fiction.

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