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Grandfather Clause

Grandfather Clause

What Is a Grandfather Clause?

A grandfather clause, or legacy clause, is an exemption that permits people or substances to go on with activities or operations that were approved before the implementation of new rules, regulations, or laws. Such allowances can be permanent, impermanent, or founded with limits.

How a Legacy Clause Works

By and large, legacy clause just exempts individuals or elements took part in determined activities before new rules were put in place. Any remaining parties entering the market present implementation are required on comply with the new rules.

Accordingly, legacy clauses successfully place two sets of rules or regulations on any other way comparable businesses or conditions, which can make unfair competitive advantages for exempted parties. In these circumstances, legacy clauses may just be conceded for a set period of time, in this manner empowering the party with an exemption to pursue compliance with the new rules before the grace period passes.

History of the Grandfather Clause

The beginning of the term "grandfather clause" alludes to statutes put in place after the Civil War by seven Southern states trying to block African Americans from voting, while at the same time exempting white voters from taking literacy tests and paying survey taxes required to vote. In the statutes, white voters whose grandfathers had voted before the finish of the Civil War were exempt from stepping through the examinations and paying the taxes under the legacy clause.

The statute was considered to be illegal by the Supreme Court in 1915 in light of the fact that it disregarded equivalent voting rights, however the utilization of the term showing rights prior to rule changes continues. The term has expanded past its underlying foundations in racial exclusion to allude chiefly to legal exclusions conceded on the basis of a current business practice being grandfathered in.


The year that Lyndon B. Johnson presented the Voting Rights Act, which empowered Congress to end unfair voting practices, like the grandfather clause.

Types of Legacy Clauses

Contingent upon specific conditions, legacy clauses can be carried out in perpetuity, for a predetermined amount of time, or with specific limitations. In circumstances where this clause makes a competitive advantage for the exempted party, exemptions are typically conceded for a predetermined period to permit existing businesses to roll out the improvements important to consent to new rules and regulations.

Clauses with specific limitations may likewise be put in place to forestall unfair competition, like forbiddances on the expansion, renovating, or retooling of an existing facility. This keeps a manufacturing plant, for instance, from avoiding moves up to current environmental standards while as yet continuing to increase production.

Instances of Legacy Clauses

One of the most common purposes of legacy clauses is found in evolving zoning laws. For instance, in circumstances where changes in zoning laws disallow new retail foundations, the existing stores are commonly conceded legacy clauses permitting them to remain in business in the event that they submit to determined limitations. A common limitation in these conditions is the sale of a business, which can void the legacy clause.

Legacy clauses are likewise common in the power industry. In numerous countries, new regulations on carbon emissions are being applied to proposed generation plants, while legacy clauses for determined time spans have been allowed to existing coal-fueled facilities. In part, the clauses are being put in place to permit coal-fueled plants time to coordinate outflow controls and to permit workers and networks dependent on coal mining sufficient opportunity to change away from the industry.


  • The "grandfather clause" term originated during the U.S. Civil War period and alluded to statutes enacted in the South to stifle African American voting.
  • Legacy clauses can be permanent, brief, or founded with limits.
  • Legacy clauses frequently apply to zoning laws when the purpose of a development changes.
  • A legacy clause is a provision that permits individuals or elements to follow old rules that once represented their activity rather than recently carried out ones, frequently temporarily.