Commercial Transactions Module 7 Summer 2006-07
Negotiable Instruments In this module, we focus on financial instruments which replaced the need for physical exchange of money or other valuables in commercial transactions, and which could facilitate complex arrangements, not possible with physical only settlements. We start with Bills of Exchange and Promissory Notes and then discuss Cheques-- a special type of negotiable instrument. A good working knowledge of the Bills of Exchange Act and Cheques Act is required.
Negotiable Instruments-our focus We will look at the use of negotiable instruments for payment, finance and structuring. Students will be expected to: • Understand the required form and formality for such instruments. E.g., so they can recognise when that is not met and an instrument is not a valid negotiable instrument, or what qualities certain characteristics or crossings impart that affect dealing in these instruments. • Be able to work through problems involving fraud (with or without forgery) and understand the contract between customer and banker in the light of both Statute and common law.
CONCEPT OF NEGOTIABILITY • A System of payment designed to eliminate the difficulties and risks involved in having large sums of cash, gold or silver always and immediately available and to overcome problems with transporting them over dangerous distances. • Grew out of Merchant practice. Later codified in statute. • All negotiable instruments are transferable….bills of exchange, cheques, bearer debentures, promissory notes, some bonds….but not all things transferable are negotiable….share certificates, money orders, IOUs. • As well as payment method, extensive use in liquidity management (ability to discount) and in financing (commercial bill acceptance or paper facilities).
Characteristics of Negotiable Instruments • Title is capable of transfer by mere delivery (or where payable “to order”, by endorsement and then delivery) • No requirement for notice of transfer to be given to person liable. (Contrast s. 12 Conveyancing Act) • Holder can sue in his/her own name. • Holder who takes in good faith and for value takes it free of equities and may obtain better title than transferor. • A presumption of bona fides and consideration.
Negotiable instruments -illustrations of use-payment DOCUMENTARY COLLECTION FOR AN IMPORTER What is it? A documentary collection consists of a Bill of Exchange plus various shipping documents relating to the goods you are importing…invoice, bill of lading, other transport documents, insurance policy…delivered to you-via your agent bank. These documents are released to you in exchange for: • On the spot payment (sight documentary collection) • Your endorsing the Bill of exchange as a promise to make payment at a future date, as negotiated and specified in the Bill of exchange (term documentary collection) • Who initiates it? Your supplier, once terms have been agreed with you usually via their bank to yours.
Documentary collection 2. Shipment 8. Buyer (importer) 3. Seller (exporter) 1. Contract of Sale 4. Lodgement of shipping documents 9a. Payment 9b. Shipping documents 11. Payment 6. Shipping documents 5. Remitting Bank 7. Presenting bank 10. Payment
Documentary Collection 1. Contract is negotiated between buyer seller. 2. Method of payment -documentary collection, shipment prior to payment. 3. Exporter prepares shipping documents, BOE and instructions 4. Documents lodged with remitting bank, who acts in accordance with instructions from exporter 5. Remitting bank examines documents 6. Remitting bank dispatches documents to presenting bank. 7. Upon receipt shipping documents, presenting bank presents BOE to importer 8. Importer will either agree to make payment or refuse 9a. If importer agrees to payment, payment or acceptance of BOE 9b. Shipping documents released to importer on payment or return of accepted BOE 10. Presenting bank makes payment to remitting bank 11. Remitting bank makes payment to exporter.
Negotiable Instruments-use in finance Commercial Bill Acceptance Facility KD Morris & Sons Ltd (In Liq) v. Bank of Qld Ltd (1980) 146 CLR 165 In 1973, Keith Morris Construction Ltd group was Queensland’s largest building contractor. A subsidiary, KD Morris & Sons Pty Ltd needed $2m. Bank of Qld and Tricontinental agreed to provide Co with commercial bill acceptance facilities of $1m each. The Company would draw bills payable in 180 days which it could immediately discount with Tricontinental providing the Company with cash to the value of the bills less discount. Each 180 daysbills would be “rolled over”, meaning new bills would take the place of those retired on maturity. Method had advantage to Bank that it involved no actual advance of funds. Instead the money came from the discounter, Tricontinental and ultimately other operators in the commercial bill market to whom Tricontinental might in turn discount the bills. The Bank supplied ready acceptability of the Company’s bills in the market place i.e. credit enhancement. It added its name. In this case, security was required (land) but not always so if credit rating (often dependent on strong cash flow, debt service ability) sufficient.
USING A BILL OF EXCHANGE when structuring transactions/settlements A in Australia owes B in NZ AUD 100,000 for goods B owes C in Australia AUD 100,000 for goods To satisfy B’s debt to C, B could assign the debt owed to B by A to C by means of the statutory machinery for assignment of choses in action (NSW Conveyancing Act) Instead of A sending currency to B and B sending money to C, B could send a written order to A to pay C the amount of B’s debt. The drawing of a BofE is distinct from the underlying sale of goods.
DRAW BILL TO IMPLEMENT ABC transaction Sydney 10th March 2005 AUD100,000 60 days after sight, pay C or order the sum of one hundred thousand Australian dollars (AUD100,000) To: A Accepted Signed A………………….. Signed B……………………… To be effective the bill must comply with s. 8 BEA B is drawer, A is drawee (and if A accepts, the acceptor),C is the payee This bill is an unconditional order in writing given by B, signed by B, requiring A to pay not on demand, but at a fixed or determinable future time a sum certain in money to the order of C….there is no bearer in this bill
BILLS OF EXCHANGE DEFINITION S. 8 BILLS OF EXCHANGE ACT UNCONDITIONAL ORDER IN WRITING ADDRESSED BY ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER SIGNED BY DRAWER REQUIRING DRAWEE TO PAY ON DEMAND OR AT FIXED OR DETERMINABLE FUTURE TIME A SUM CERTAIN IN MONEY
IRREVOCABLE AND UNCONDITIONAL John Shearer Limited and Arrowdrest Group P/L and Gehl Company (1995) 17 ACSR 350 (1995) 130 ALR 732 John Shearer was a dealer in Agricultural machinery and for many years distributed machinery manufactured by Gehl. Gehl terminated the distributorship and Shearer dishonoured various Bills of Exchange Gehl served statutory demands pursuant to the provisions of the Corporations Law s.459 (part of 1993 amendments). Shearer claimed it was a new basis whereby a company could apply to the court to set aside that demand by disputing the genuineness of the debt or relying on an offsetting claim. Court reviewed authorities (under Bills of Exchange Act, possible only to dispute in exceptional circumstances (if bill procured by fraud, duress or for a consideration which had failed,) interaction with the provisions of the corporations law (was not a Code which replaced the law re Bills of Exchange and must be read together) and policy (need for certainty in law merchant). In view of the importance of the preservation of the law merchant in international and intranational transactions, would not permit law of Bills of Exchange to be amended by implications. It had to fit very specifically within the meanings. “The general law having made it clear that unliquidated cross claims cannot be relied on to extinguish a claim on a bill of exchnage, the only available conclusion is a finding that John Shearer does not have an offsetting claim”.
Rosenhain v. Commonwealth Bank of Aust. (1922) 31 CLR 46 Document purported to be Bill of Exchange.US Company sent it to Melbourne Co (R) Ordered R to pay “Sixty days after sight” approx 1,471 pounds to order Caravel “ with interest at the rate of 8% per annum until arrival of payment in London to cover”. Was it a Bill of Exchange? A sum certain? Sum not capable of being ascertained at time fixed for payment Time fixed for payment 60 days after sight Sum certain even if it is plus interest provided it can be calculated with certainty at date in question Interest was to run until arrival of payment in London.Uncertain when or if this would happen Uncertain both on face document and in fact Not a Bill of Exchange
BILLS OF EXCHANGE ADVANTAGES TRANSFERABILITY - easy, no notice required SECURITY - no need for cash DISCOUNT - liquidity when desired NEGOTIABILITY - transferee can hold free of prior defects in title PAYMENT - facilitate payments at a distance FINANCING - commercial paper, flexible, liquid DISHONOUR - can sue on bill rather than establish facts of debt DEFENCES LIMITED - no set- off for unliquidated damages USE IN MULTIPLE TRANSACTION SCENARIO - can eliminate need for some
BILLS OF EXCHANGE CLASSES OF BILLS INLAND BILL - Drawn and Payable Within Australia FOREIGN BILL - Any Bill not an inland Bill More complex procedure on dishonour Clean foreign bill has no documents attached Documentary foreign bill has documents attached Protest necessary for non-acceptance, non-payment ACCOMMODATION BILLS S.33 - Drawn for purpose of financing Most commercial paper Accommodation party lends name Can improve credit and make it discountable. INCHOATE OR INCOMPLETE BILLS S. 25 - Lack some material particular Person in possession prima facie authority to complete Must be filled within reasonable time and in accordance with authority
ACCEPTANCE • The assent of the drawee to the order • Drawee not liable until acceptance • Invalid if not written on the bill and signed by Drawee • Mere signature enough • Person not liable as acceptor unless he has signed as such s. 28 Acceptance can be general or qualified Qualified acceptance varies effect and must be clear and unambiguous • Conditional • Partial • States expressly that acceptor will only pay at specified place and no other • Limits time of acceptance • Made by less than all drawees indicated on bill • Holder may refuse qualified acceptance and may treat it as dishonoured for non-acceptance • Must dissent within time or deemed to have assented to it
INDORSEMENTS BLANK - Signature of indorser; no indorsee named. SPECIAL - Signature indorser and indorsee named. CONDITIONAL - See s.38BEA which permits disregard of condition. RESTRICTIVE - Further transfer restricted. See s. 40. SANS RECOURS - No recourse. Indorser or drawer negatives liability to holder in event dishonour.
Forged or unauthorised signature. S. 29 Bills of Exchange Act 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 unauthorized 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 signature, 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 ratification of an unauthorized signature not amounting to a forgery.
Forged or unauthorized signatures A person in possession of a Bill under a forged indorsement is not the payee. Because the indorsement is inoperative, they cannot be the indorsee. Because it cannot make the bill payable to bearer (see definition of bearer), it follows that they cannot be a holder (see definition of holder) or a holder in due course (see s. 34, and exception in circumstances and to extent in 60(2)(b)) Subject to the provisions of this Act…in s. 29…include s.12(3) fictitious payee, s. 59(b)(i) estoppel of acceptor, 60(2)(b) estoppel of indorser, and banker protections
HOLDER IN DUE COURSE Note assumption in s. 35 S. 34 A holder in due course is one who takes a Bill • Complete and regular on the face of it • Before it was overdue • Without notice of dishonour • In good faith • For value • Without notice, at the time bill was negotiated to him, of any defect in title of person who negotiated it
LIABILITIES OF PARTIES S. 58 FUNDS IN HANDS OF DRAWEE A bill of itself does not operate as an assignment of funds in the hands of the drawee available for the payment thereof and the drawee of a bill who does not accept as required by this Act is not liable on the instrument. S. 59 LIABILITY OF ACCEPTOR The acceptor…engages that he will pay it according to the tenor of his acceptance; and is precluded from denying to holder in due course, the existence of drawer genuineness of his signature and his capacity and authority to draw the bill and….. S. 60 LIABILITY OF DRAWER OR INDORSER The drawer engages that on due presentment it shall be accepted and paid according to its tenor and that if it is dishonoured he will compensate the holder or any indorser who is compelled to pay it, provided that the requisite proceedings on dishonour are duly taken and is precluded from denying to a holder in due course the existence of the payee and his then capacity to endorse.
LIABILITIES OF PARTIESCONT. S. 61 STRANGER SIGNING BILL LIABLE AS INDORSER Where a person signs a bill otherwise than as drawer or acceptor, he thereby incurs the liabilities of an indorser to a H in due course. S. 63 TRANSFEROR BY DELIVERY AND TRANSFEREE Where the holder of a bill payable to bearer negotiates it by delivery without indorsing it, he is called a transferor by delivery.(who) is not liable on the instrument…warrants to his immediate transferee being a holder for value that the bill is what it purports to be, that he has a right to transfer it, and that at the time of transfer he is not aware of any fact which renders it valueless.
DISCHARGE OF BILLS S. 64 PAYMENT IN DUE COURSE - A bill is discharged by payment in due course by or on behalf of the drawee or acceptor. Payment in due course means payment made at or after maturity of the bill to the holder thereof in good faith and without notice that his title to the bill is defective……. S. 69 ALTERATION OF A BILL - (1) Where a bill or acceptance is materially altered without the assent of all parties liable on the bill, the bill is avoided except as against a party who has himself made, authorized, or assented to the alteration and subsequent indorsers. Provided that where a bill has been materially altered, but the alteration is not apparent, and the bill is in the hands of a holder in due course, such holder may avail himself of the bill as if it had not been altered, and may enforce payment of it according to its original tenor. (2) In particular, the following alterations are material…any alteration of the date, the sum payable, the time of payment, the place of payment, and, where a bill has been accepted generally, the addition of a place of payment without the acceptor’s assent.
ARAB BANK V. ROSS (1952) 2QB 216 Ross drew 2 promissory notes for 10,000 pounds each in favour of Fathi and Faysal Nabulsy Company. He later alleged they were to pay for shares he did not receive. PNs subsequently indorsed Fathi and Faysul Nabulsy.Handed to Arab Bank who sued Ross and succeeded. Appeal to CA. Lord Denning Was Arab bank holder in due course? Depends on whether at time they took it, it was complete and regular on the face of it (which includes back of it). Regularity different to invalidity or liability. Irregular indorsement can still mean liability. Evidence of bankers of City of London they would not have accepted endorsement. Company not description. Part of the name. Was the irregularity waived? No unconditional waiver Not holders in due course because of irregularity. Open to claim as holders, but get no better title than person he took it from No defect shown in title Nabulsy brothers. Allegations of fraud not proven Appeal dismissed
HELLER FACTORS V. TOY CORP (1984) 1 NSWLR 121 In mid May, Toy drew BE to its own order,mistakenly dated 3.12.82; the due date. Accepted by Cassidy. Indorsed by Lumsden, MD of Toy and handed to Heller, financiers of Toy. In June 82, Beech of Heller wrote Invoice No 7190 on Bill. In Sept 82, altered date on bill to 14.5.82. Lumsden initialled alteration. Bill presented to Cassidy 31.12.82. Dishonoured. Heller sued Toy (Receivers) and Cassidy in SC Yeldham J. Irregular on its face. Indorsement irregular-did not mention name indorser. Original date and date of maturity same. (s. 34 not holder in due course if bill not “complete and regular on the face of it”). Prima facie,Plaintiff is holder in due course s. 35(2).Regularity differs from validity and liability (Arab Bank). Would indorsement or obvious error in date reasonably give rise to doubt? No, Lumsden was MD and no doubt his signature was one on behalf of company.s.8. Bill not invalid by reason only undated. Heller was holder in due course. Addition of Invoice No 7190 material alteration? No Change to date material alteration? Refer to s. 69(2)-yes, defined as so. On this ground alone, not assented to by Cassidy, claim against Cassidy fails
BANK OF ENGLAND V. VAGLIANO BROS (1891) AC 107 Vucina regularly drew bills upon Vagliano who accepted them. Bills drawn payable to order C Petridi. Glyka, a Vagliano clerk forged number of Vucina Bills. Unwittingly accepted by Vagliano.Glyka forged indorsements by Petridi,cashed bills at Bank of England. By time fraud detected 71,500 pounds paid out! Vagliano Bros sued Bank of England and won.Appeal to Court of Appeal dismissed.Appeal to HL. Lords Halsbury LC and Lord Herschell Have bankers paid away money under circumstances enabling Vagliano to refuse to acknowledge payments made on his behalf? Not bill of exchange because forged. Bore in mind what one would import in mind if it was. Was bank misled into doing something by Vagliano? Bank misled.Vagliano careless in not checking. Query settled by Vagliano clerk. If, payable to fictitious person, it is payable to bearer. Bank not obliged to hold up mercantile practice to check signature
CLUTTON AND CO V. GEORGE ATTENBOROUGH & SON (1897) AC 90 Mr. Piper was clerk with Clutton and Co. He tricked employer to draw cheques in favour of “George Brett”. No such person. Piper took cheques, endorsed them as Brett and gave them to Attenborough, pawnbrokers to redeem goods. He was known to pawnbrokers as Brett. Clutton and Co’s bank paid out on cheques Piper was found out. Clutton and Co sued pawnbrokers. Not successful. Appeal dismissed. Appeal to HL Lord Halsbury LC - Cheque made payable to fictitious or nonexistent person still considered payable to bearer although drawer believed it was a real person. NOTE Bearer cheque can be negotiated by delivery. Order cheque must be negotiated by endorsement and delivery. Payable to bearer When it explicitly says Pay Bearer. Last or only endorsement is one in blank. Payee is fictitious or nonexistent person
NORTH AND SOUTH WALES BANK V. MACBETH (1908) AC 137 White pretended to Macbeth he had bought 5,000 shares from Kerr and needed finance. Macbeth drew a cheque in favour of Kerr for 11,250 pounds. White forged Kerr’s indorsement and paid cheque into his own account with NSW Bank. White was found out. Macbeth sued Bank and won. Appeal dismissed. Appeal to House of Lords. Lord Loreburn LC - Bank liable unless could show “fictitious” payee. Could not do so. • Where drawer has designated real person as payee, intends him to be payee, impossible payee can be fictitious • Distinguish from Vagliano and Clutton. • In former, drawer did not intend payee to receive proceeds • In Clutton, payee was non-existent person whom no one could or meant to be recipient
GREENWOOD V. MARTIN’S BANK (1933) AC 51 Greenwood opened cheque account with Martins. Wife forged signature Most drawn in favour of non-existing person. She indorsed them and obtained payment from bank.11 months later, Mr. G found her out. Allowed another 7 months to go by before reporting. She then shot herself. He claimed bank could not debit him for cheques. Bank denied claim. He sued and was successful. Appeal to CA successful. Greenwood appealed to HL. Crockett J - No question of ratification or of adoption. Estoppel? Essential factors giving rise to estoppel: --A representation or conduct amounting to same to induce a course of conduct --An act or omission resulting from representation, whether actual or by conduct by the person to whom the representation made.--Detriment to such person as a consequence Mere silence not representation BUT When there is duty and then deliberate silence this may become a representation. As in this case. Duty to disclose forgery to bank admitted. Appeal dismissed
TINA MOTORS V. ANZ BANKING GROUP (1977) VR 205 • Mr. and Mrs I had used car business - Tina Motors Pty Ltd. • Cheque account with ANZ. Bank Manager was Hardy. • Mrs I could sign cheques. • Brother in law Mr. Stella worked in business • He forged her signature on cash cheques over 7 months. Paid on cheques by bank • Subsequently found out. Tina Motors sued. Crockett J 1. Normally Tina Motors would succeed because a signatory did not sign the cheques 2. However in this case evidence showed Mr. Hardy had twice been doubtful of authenticity of signature and been reassured by Mr. I. Mr. I put on inquiry and chose not to examine situation 3. Continuing duty to act with reasonable care to ensure proper working of account
PROMISSORY NOTES S. 89 DEFINITION • An unconditional promise in writing made by one person to another signed by the maker engaging 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 Not a Bill of Exchange BUT Main BEA provisions apply with modification Note their use in financing and why No need to go into underlying debt If signed by more than, one deemed joint and several
Promissory Notes and Finance A promise to pay which relies on credit for marketability Simple to draw up Very few defences Summary judgement possible Unsecured Alternative to a loan agreement A separate obligation to others Outside definition of debenture in Corporations Act Consider the Westpoint example Used in international capital raising.
Westpoint Issued PNs Emu Brewery Trust Senior Debt Provider Emu Brewery Mezzanine P/L 1st FF Charge 2nd FF Charge Emu Brewery site owner 2nd Mortgage 1st Mortgage Westpoint Guarantee Development Manager
Emu/Westpoint Promissory Note PROMISSORY NOTE Promissory Note No: 8518 Expiry Date: 21 August 2006 Issue Date: 21 August 2003 1. Emu Brewery Mezzanine Pty Ltd (Emu Brewery Mezzanine) promises to pay to R & L Andrew Pty Ltd ATF R & L Andrew Superannuation Fund (the Investor) of 13 Gertrude Street Sunshine VIC 3020 Australia (a) the sum of $71,000 and (b) interest (Interest) in accordance with the terms set out below 2. This Note is non-negotiable and non-transferable 3. The Principal Sum plus 2% will be paid on the Expiry Date 4. Interest will be paid at the rate of 12% per annum on a monthly basis in arrears.
Emu Brewery Mezzanine Ltd (in Liq) v. ASIC (2006)WASCA 105Westpoint use of Promissory Notes ASIC claimed in cross appeal $35m raised by issue of PNs used were “securities” and Emu/Westpoint offered to issue securities (a debenture) to investors without preparing lodging or providing a disclosure document as required by Corporations Act. Not so, said majority. Did a right of early repayment prevent there being a fixed or determinable future time for payment? Or, sum certain? No
CHEQUES CHEQUES ACT 1986 DEFINITION s. 10 (1) A cheque is an UNCONDITIONAL ORDER IN WRITING that; (a) Is addressed by a person to another person (being a FINANCIAL INSTITUTION) (b) Is signed by the person giving it and (c) Requires the FINANCIAL INSTITUTION to pay ON DEMAND A SUM CERTAIN in money (2)An instrument that does not comply with subsection (1) or that orders any act to be done in addition to the payment of money, is not a cheque. See also: s. 3 for definitions of FIC INSTITUTION, FINANCIAL INSTITUTION, FINANCIAL INSTITUTION CODES s. 11 for what is an ORDER s. 12 for what is the meaning of UNCONDITIONAL ORDER TO PAY s. 13 for what is meant by ORDER ADDRESSED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUION s. 14 for meaning of ORDER TO PAY ON DEMAND s. 15 for ORDER TO PAY A SUM CERTAIN
CHEQUES ACT INTERPRETATION S. 3 FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONmeans: a) The Reserve Bank of Australia; or b) A body corporate that is an ADI (authorised deposit-taking institution) for the purposes of the Banking Act 1959; or c) An FIC institution; or d) A person who carries on State banking within the meaning of paragraph 51 (xiii) of the Constitution; or e) A person (other than a person referred to in paragraph (a) (b) (c) or (d) who carries on the business of banking outside Australia FIC INSTITUTIONmeans a body corporate that is, for the purposes of any of the Financial Institutions Codes; a) A building society; or b) A credit union; or c) A special services provider FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CODESmeans the following codes; The Financial Institutions (NSW) Code of New South Wales And so on for the other states.
Definitions cont. s. 11 CHEQUES ACT Order to pay An order to pay must be more than an authorization or request to pay. s. 12 CHEQUES ACT Unconditional order to pay (1) An order to pay on a contingency is not an unconditional order to pay and the happening of the event does not make the order an unconditional order to pay. (2) An order to pay shall not be taken not to be an unconditional order to pay by reason only that the order is coupled with either or both of the following: (a) An indication of a particular account to be debited by the financial institution to which the order is addressed; (b) A statement of the transaction giving rise to the order
Definitions cont. s. 13 CHEQUES ACT Order addressed to a financial institution (1) An order to pay is not addressed to a financial institution unless: (a) The order is addressed to a financial institution and to no other person; (b) the order is addressed to one financial institution only; and (c) the financial institution is named, or otherwise indicated with reasonable certainty, in the instrument containing the order. (2) An order to pay may be an order to pay addressed to a financial institution notwithstanding that a person other than the financial institution on which the instrument containing the order is drawn, the payee or the drawer is specified in the instrument.
Definitions cont. s.14 CHEQUES ACT Order to pay on demand (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), an order to pay is an order to pay on demand if: (a) the order is expressed to require payment on demand, at sight or on presentation; or (b) no time for payment is expressed in the instrument containing the order. (2) Subject to subsection 16(3), an order to pay is not an order to pay on demand if the order is expressed to require, or requires by implication, payment otherwise than on demand, at sight or on presentation. (2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), an order to pay is not an order to pay on demand if the order is expressed to require, or requires by implication, payment only: (a) at or before a particular time; or (b) where the instrument containing the order is presented at or before a particular time.
Definitions cont. s. 15 CHEQUES ACT Order to pay a sum certain (1) Subject to subsection (2), an order to pay is not an order to pay a sum certain unless the sum ordered to be paid is specified with reasonable certainty in the instrument containing the order. (2) Where more than one sum is expressed to be payable in an instrument containing an order to pay, the lesser or least, as the case may be, of the sums so expressed to be payable shall be taken to be the only sum ordered to be paid by the instrument. (3) An order to pay may be an order to pay a sum certain notwithstanding that the order requires a sum to be paid according to a rate of exchange specified in, or to be ascertained as directed by, the instrument containing the order. (4) Where an instrument contains: (a) an order to pay a specified sum; and (b) an order to pay not more than a specified sum; the instrument shall be taken to require payment of the lesser of the sums so specified.
Definitions cont. S. 19 CHEQUES ACT Meaning of specification of person as payee or indorsee (1) A person shall not be taken to be specified in a cheque as payee or indorsee unless the person: a) Is named or otherwise indicated with reasonable certainty, in the cheque: and b) Is not a fictitious or non-existing person (2) Where the holder for the time being of an office is specified in a cheque as payee or indorsee, the person who is the holder for the time being of the office shall be taken to be named in the cheque as payee or indorsee, as the case may be. SO--- When is a payee or indorsee NOT a payee or indorsee for the purposes of the Cheque Act? When: A fictitious person / A non-existing person / Reference is too obscure or uncertain
Definitions cont. S. 20 CHEQUES ACT A CHEQUE IS EITHER PAYABLE TO ORDER (REQUIRES DRAWEE TO PAY TO OR TO ORDER OF A PERSON SPECIFIED, OR 2 OR MORE PERSONS JOINTLY OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE AS PAYEE OR INDORSEE S. 21) OR PAYABLE TO BEARER (IF NOT PAYABLE TO ORDER WITHIN S. 21…SEE S. 22) ONLY 2 CHOICES!
Definitions cont. S.23 CHEQUES ACT A cheque may be converted from payable to bearer to one payable to order. Where the only, or last , indorsement of a cheque requires the drawee institution to pay the sum ordered to be paid by the cheque to bearer, the holder may, using the signature of the indorser, convert the cheque into a cheque payable to order by adding to, or altering, the indorsement so that the cheque is expressed to require the drawee institution to pay the sum ordered to be paid by the cheque to or to the order of: a) A person specified in the cheque as indorsee; or b) 2 or more persons specified in the cheque, jointly or in the alternative, as indorsee.
UNAUTHORISED SIGNATURE S. 32 CHEQUES ACT (1) Where a signature is written or placed on a cheque as that of the drawer without the authority of the person whose signature it purports to be (in this subsection referred to as the relevant person), the signature is wholly inoperative as that of the relevant person unless: (a) the person against whom it is sought to assert a right on the cheque is estopped from denying the genuineness of the signature or the existence of authority for the signature, as the case requires; or (b) the signature is ratified or adopted by the relevant person; but the signature operates as the signature of the person who wrote or placed it on the cheque in favour of any person who, in good faith and without notice that it had been written or placed on the cheque without the authority of the relevant person, pays the cheque or takes the cheque for value.
S.32 CHEQUES ACTCont. (2) Subject to sections 74 and 92, subsection 93(2), section 94 and subsections 95(1) and (3) and 98(1), where a signature is written or placed on a cheque otherwise than as that of the drawer without the authority of the person whose signature it purports to be (in this subsection referred to as the relevant person), the signature is wholly inoperative as that of the relevant person unless: (a) the person against whom it is sought to assert a right on the cheque is estopped from denying the genuineness of the signature or the existence of authority for the signature, as the case requires; or (b) the signature is ratified or adopted by the relevant person; but the signature operates as the signature of the person who wrote or placed it on the cheque in favour of any person who, in good faith and without notice that it had been written or placed on the cheque without the authority of the relevant person, pays the cheque or takes the cheque for value.
HOLDER IN DUE COURSE DEFINED S.50 CHEQUES ACT (1) The holder (def.s.3)of a cheque is a holder in due course if; (a) The cheque was transferred by negotiation to the holder and, at the time when the holder took the cheque, the cheque; (i) Was complete and regular on the face of it; (ii) Was not a stale cheque; and (iii) Did not bear a crossing of the kind referred to in 53(1)(b)…2 parallel transverse lines with the words not negotiable between…; and (b) The holder took the cheque: (i) In good faith; (ii) For value; and (iii) Without notice; A. Of any dishonour of the cheque; or B. Of any defect in the title of the person who transferred the cheque to the holder or that the person who transferred the cheque to the holder had no title to the cheque (2) Without limiting the generality of paragraph (1)(b) the holder of a cheque shall, for the purposes of that paragraph, be deemed to have taken the cheque with notice of a defect in the title of the person who transferred the cheque to the holder if the holder took the cheque with notice that the person transferred the cheque to the holder in breach of faith or under circumstances amounting to a fraud.
CHEQUES ACT S.53, 54, 55 CHEQUE CROSSINGS S. 53 Crossing and crossed cheque defined • 2 parallel transverse lines; or • 2 parallel transverse lines with the words not negotiable between, or substantially between, the lines Just putting the words not negotiable is NOT ENOUGH s.54 Effect of crossing on payment of a cheque A crossing has effect as a direction by drawer to drawee not to pay the cheque otherwise than to a financial institution s. 55 Effect of taking cheque crossed not negotiable Where a cheque that bears a crossing of the kind referred to in paragraph 53 (1)(b) is transferred by negotiation to a person, the person does not receive, and is not capable of giving, a better title to the cheque than the title that the person from whom the first mentioned person took the cheque had.
DISTINGUISH CHEQUESfrom BILLS OF EXCHANGE AND PROMISSORY NOTES A CHEQUE is • Drawn only on a financial institution • Mostly for commercial transactions within a country • Drawn on a financial institution and payable on demand • Financial institution pays because of banker/customer relationship rather than acceptance • Is a subset of Bills of Exchange A BILL OF EXCHANGE • Can be drawn on anyone • Often used for international transactions • Does not use crossings • Accepted by party on whom drawn A PROMISSORY NOTE • Bilateral legal relationship and not tripartite • Unconditional promise rather than unconditional order