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14. In relation to the form and interpretation of bills and notes, I quote the following sections of the Bills of Exchange Act, 1882, as being a statutory exposition of that portion of the subject) and incapable of being excelled in neatness and brevity.
Form and Interpretation. S. 3. (1.) A bill of exchange is an unconditional order in writing, addressed by one person to another, signed by the person giving it, requiring the person to whom it is addressed to pay on demand or at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money to or to the order of a specified person, or to bearer.
(2.) An instrument which does not comply with these conditions, or which orders any act to be done in addition to the payment of money, is not a bill of exchange.
(3.) An order to pay out of a particular fund is not uncondi, tional within the meaning of this section ; but an unqualified order to pay, coupled with (a) an indication of a particular fund out of which the drawee is to reimburse himself or a particular account to be debited with the amount, or (6) a statement of the transaction which gives rise to the bill, is unconditional.
(4.) A bill is not invalid hy reason(a.) That it is not dated; (6.) That it does not specify the value given, or that any
value has been given therefor; (c.) That it does not specify the place where it is drawn or
the place where it is payable. 15. S. 4. (1.) An inland bill is a bill which is or on the face of it purports to be (a) both drawn and payable within the British Islands, or (6) drawn within the British Islands upon some person resident therein. Any other bill is a foreign bill.
For the purposes of this Act “ British Islands" mean any part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, the islands of Man, Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, and Sark, and the islands adjacent to any of them being part of the dominions of Her Majesty.
(2.) Unless the contrary appear on the face of the bill the holder may treat it as an inlaud bill.
16. S. 5. (1.) A bill may be drawn payable to, or to the order of, the drawer; or it may be drawn payable to, or to the order of, the drawee.
(2.) Where in a bill drawer and drawee are the same person, or where the drawee is a fictitious person or a person not having capacity to contract, the holder may treat the instrument, at bis option, either as a bill of exchange or as a promissory note.
17. S. 6. (1.) The drawee must be named or otherwise indi. cated in a bill with reasonable certainty.
(2.) A bill may be addressed to two or more drawees whether they are partners or not, but an order addressed to two drawees in the alternative or to two or more drawees in succession is not a bill of exchange.
18. S. 7. (1.) Where a bill is not payable to bearer, the payee must be named or otherwise indicated therein with reasonable certainty.
(2.) A bill may be made payable to two or more payees jointly, or it may be made payable in the alternative to one or two, or one or some of several payees. A bill may also be made payable to the holder of an office for the time being.
(3.) Where the payee is a fictitious or non-existing person the bill may be treated as payable to bearer.
19. S. 8. (1.) When a bill contains words prohibiting transfer, or indicating an intention that it should not be transferable, it is valid as between the parties thereto, but is not negotiable.
(2.) A negotiable bill may be payable either to order or to bearer.
(3.) A bill is payable to bearer which is expressed to be so payable, or on which the only or last indorsement is an indorse.. ment in blank.
(4.) A bill is payable to order which is expressed to be so payable, or which is expressed to be payable to a particular person, and does not contain words prohibiting transfer or indi. cating an intention that it should not be transferable.
(5.) Where a bill, either originally or by indorsement, is expressed to be payable to the order of a specified person, and not to him or his order, it is nevertheless payable to him or his order at his option.
20. 8. 9. (1.) The sum payable · by a bill is a sum certain within the meaning of this Act, although it is required to be paid
(a.) With interest. (6.) By stated instalments. c.) By stated instalments, with a provision that upon default
in payment of any instalment the whole shall become due. (d.) According to an indicated rate of exchange or according
to a rate of exchange to be ascertained as directed by
the bill. (2.) Where the sum payable is expressed in words and also in figures, and there is a discrepancy between the two, the sum denoted by the words is the amount payable.
(3.) Where a bill is expressed to be payable with interest, unless the instrument otherwise provides, interest runs from the date of the bill, and if the bill is undated from the issue thereof.
21. S. 10. (1.) A bill is payable on demand(a.) Which is expressed to be payable on demand, or at sight,
or on presentation; or (6.) In which no time for payment is expressed.
(2.) Where a bill is accepted or indorsed when it is overdue, it shall, as regards the acceptor who so accepts, or any indorser who so indorses it, be deemed a bill payable on demand.
22. S. 11. A bill is payable at a determinable future time within the meaning of this Act, which is expressed to be payable
(1.) At a fixed period after date or sight.
(2.) On or at a fixed period after the occurrence of a specified event which is certain to happen, though the time of happening may be uncertain.
An instrument expressed to be payable on a contingency is not a bill, and the happening of the event does not cure the defect.
23. S. 12. Where a bill expressed to be payable at a fixed period after date is issued undated, or where the acceptance of a bill payable at a fixed period after sight is undated, any holder may insert therein the true date of issue or acceptance, and the bill shall be payable accordingly :
Provided that (1) where the holder in good faith and by mis. take inserts a wrong date, and (2) in every case where a wrong date is inserted, if the bill subsequently comes into the hands of a holder in due course the bill shall not be avoided thereby, but shall operate and be payable as if the date so inserted had been the true date.
24. S. 13. (1.) Where a bill or an acceptance or any indorsement on a bill is dated, the date shall, unless the contrary be proved, be deemed to be the true date of the drawing, acceptance, or indorsement, as the case may be.
(2.) A bill is not invalid by reason only that it is ante-dated or post-dated, or that it bears date on a Sunday.
25. S. 15. The drawer of a bill and any indorser may insert therein the name of a person to whom the holder may resort in case of need, that is to say, in case the bill is dishonored by non-acceptance or non-payment. Such person is called the referee in case of need. It is in the option of the holder to resort to the referee in case of need or not as he may think fit.
26. S. 16. The drawer of a bill, and any indorser may insert therein an express stipulation
(1.) Negativing or limiting his own liability to the holder:
(2.) Waiving as regards himself some or all of the holder's duties.
27. S. 20. (1.) Where a simple signature on a blank stamped paper is delivered by the signer in order that it may be converted into a bill, it operates as a prima facie authority to fill it up as a complete bill for any amount the stamp will cover, using the sig. nature for that of the drawer, or the acceptor, or an indorser; and, in like manner, when a bill is wanting in any material particular, the person in possession of it has a primâ facie authority to fill up the omission in any way he thinks fit.
(2.) In order that any such instrument when completed may be enforceable against any person who became a party thereto prior to its completion, it must be filled up within a reasonable time, and strictly in accordance with the authority given. Reasonable time for this purpose is a question of fact:
Provided that if any such instrument after completion is negotiated to a holder in due course it shall be valid and effectual for all purposes in his hands, and he may enforce it as if it had been filled within a reasonable time and strictly in accordance with the authority given.
28. S. 23. No person is liable as drawer, indorser, or acceptor of a bill who has not signed it as such : Provided that
(1.) Where a person signs a bill in a trade or assumed name, he is liable thereon as if he had signed it in his own name:
(2.) The signature of the name of a firm is equivalent to the signature by the person so signing of the names of all persons liable as partners in that firm.
29. S. 24. Subject to the provisions of this Act, where a signature on a bill is forged or placed thereon without the authority of the person whose signature it purports to be, the forged or unauthorised signature is wholly inoperative, and no right to retain the bill or to give a discharge therefor or to enforce payment thereof against any party thereto can be acquired through or under that siguature; unless the party against whom it is sought to retain or enforce payment of the bill is precluded from setting up the forgery or want of authority.
Provided that nothing in this section shall affect the ratifi. cation of an unauthorised signature not amounting to a forgery.
30. S. 25. A signature by procuration operates as notice that the agent has but a limited authority to sign, and the principal is only bouud by such signature if the agent in so signing was acting within the actual limits of his authority.
31. S. 26. (1.) Where a person signs a bill as drawer, iudorser, or acceptor, and adds words to his signature, indicating that he sigus for or on behalf of a principal, or in a representative character, he is not personally liable thereon ; but the mere addition to his signature of words, describing him as an agent, or as filling a representative character, does not exempt him from personal liability.
(2.) In determining whether a signature on a bill is that of the principal or that of the agent by whose hand it is written, the construction most favorable to the validity of the instrument shall be adopted.
Bill in a Set. 32. S. 71. (1.) Where a bill is drawn in a set, each part of the set being numbered, and containing a reference to the other parts, the whole of the parts constitute one bill.
(2.) Where the holder of a set indorses two or more parts to
different persons, he is liable on every such part, and every indorser subsequent to him is liable on the part' he has himself indorsed as if the said parts were separate bills.
(3.) Where two or more parts of a set are negotiated to different holders in due course, the holder whose title first accrues is as between such holders deemed the true owner of the bill; but nothing in this sub-section shall affect the rights of a person who in due course accepts or pays the part first presented to him.
(4.) The acceptance may be written on any part, and it must be irritten on one part only.
If the drawee accepts more than one part, and such accepted parts get into the hands of different holders in due course, he is liable on every such part as if it were a separate bill
. (5.) When the acceptor of a bill drawn in a set pays it without requiring the part bearing his acceptance to be delivered up to him, and that part at maturity is outstanding in the hands of a holder in due course, he is liable to the holder thereof.
(6.) Subject to the preceding rules, where any one part of a bill drawn in a set is discharged by payment or otherwise, the whole bill is discharged.
OF ACTIONS ON BILLS, CHEQUES, AND NOTES. 1. Notice of dishonor before action. 2. Great facilities offered in Superior and County
Courts. 3. Remedy on lost bills or notes. 4. Of actions against two or more, and of execution. 5. Partners in form must be disclosed.
1. If the holder resolves on pursuing his remedy against any party who is entitled to notice of dishonor, it is important to see that the notice of dishonor was received or was posted so as to be presumed to have been received by the defendant before the issue of the writ, or, if the cause be in the County Court, before the entry of the plaint; otherwise the plaintiff will fail.
2. The security afforded by bills, cheques, and notes, is considerably enhanced by virtue of the Act of the 18th and 19th Vict. chap. 67, which enables a plaintiff suing upon a bill or note, within six months after it falls due,