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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/2147

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1937
LEGAL MEMORANDA

payment within a reasonable time, otherwise the banker will be justified in declining to pay it until he has made inquiries. What is a reasonable time depends on custom and the facts of the particular case. A person who takes a cheque after it has been in circulation for an unreasonable time, takes it subject to any defect there may be in the title to it.

Failure, however, to present a cheque within a reasonable time (so long as it be presented within six years) does not deprive the holder of his remedy against the person who drew 'it, unless the latter has been actually prejudiced by the delay, as, for instance, by the failure of the bank in the interval. Under such circumstances the drawer is discharged from his liability, and the holder of the cheque is left to recover what he can from the bank.

A Banker's Authority to pay a Cheque is determined by—(i) Countermand of payment; (2) notice of the customer's death; (3) bankruptcy of the customer.

Dishonoured Cheques.—If a banker refuses to pay a cheque duly signed by a customer who, at the time, has sufficient funds at the bank to meet it, he will be liable in an action for damages by the customer,[1] unless he succeeds in showing that such funds had not been paid in for a reasonable time before the cheque was presented. The banker will not, however, be liable to the holder of the cheque.

Where there is an insufficient amount to meet the cheque, the banker is not entitled to state the amount of the deficit, and so enable the person presenting it to pay in the difference and thus obtain payment to the prejudice of other creditors.

Forged Cheques, etc.—A banker is presumed to know his customer's hand-writing, and consequently if he pays a forged cheque he is, under ordinary circumstances, bound to refund the amount to the customer. Similarly, if the sum payable on a cheque be fraudulently altered so as to increase the amount, and the banker pays the larger sum, the general rule is that he can only charge the customer with the amount for which the cheque was actually drawn. Where, however, a customer signed certain cheques in blank and left them to his wife to fill in, who, in turn, employed his clerk to fill in one of them for £50, and he proceeded to do so in such a way as to enable him to subsequently increase the amount to £350, and appropriate the money, held that the loss must be borne by the customer.

Lost Cheques.—Where a cheque is lost before it is overdue, the person who was the holder of it may apply to the drawer to give him another, giving security to the drawer if required, to indemnify him against all persons in case the cheque should be found; and the drawer may be compelled to give it.

Payment by Cheque.—As a cheque is not money, and therefore not legal tender, a creditor may always object to it as payment. And even if he accepts it as payment, its acceptance does not put an end to the debt unless and until the cheque is cashed; in other words, it only suspends the creditor's remedy until the cheque is presented, and if not then paid, the debt may be treated as still existing.

The production of a cheque drawn by a debtor in favour of his creditor and paid by the banker is not, in itself, sufficient evidence of payment. It. must also be shown that the cheque passed through the creditor's hands. For this reason it is desirable to pay a creditor by a cheque to order, and thus obtain his endorsement.

BIRTHS

Information to be given of Birth within Six Weeks. In the case of every child born alive in England or Wales it is the duty

(1) Of the father and mother, and in their default,

(2) Of the occupier of the house in which, to his knowledge, the child is

  1. And it will not be necessary for the customer to show any special damage,