Re: [LEAPSECS] Draft Questionnaire

From: Joseph S. Myers <>
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 2003 22:05:58 +0000 (GMT)

On Sat, 18 Jan 2003, John Cowan wrote:

> It would still be universal in that all the world's 400-odd different
> civil time definitions would be based on it.

But not legal time definitions (as distinct from the widely-used civil
time based on time signals) in jurisdictions where legal time is based on
GMT rather than UTC (such as the UK). The phrase "Greenwich mean time" in
UK law could hardly be interpreted as referring to some timescale that
diverges from the normal meaning of "mean time", and the Government have
so far shown no interest in changing the definition to be based on UTC.

I have pointed out the legal issues in response to previous questionnaires
received on this subject.

The EU Summer Time Directive (2000/84/EC) specifies the Summer Time
transition times in Greenwich Mean Time in the English language version
and in UTC in the Danish language version. If the difference grows well
beyond the present maximum of 0.9 seconds, it becomes more likely to be a
legal issue. (I contacted the relevant part of the EU some time ago about
this discrepancy anyway, as the difference is a technical legal defect
even when it can be at most 0.9 seconds, but haven't managed to get a
useful response.)

Joseph S. Myers
Received on Sat Jan 18 2003 - 14:16:32 PST

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