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1st. Definition of a cheque.
A CHEQUE is an unaccepted bill of exchange drawn upon a banker by his customer, and generally, but not always, against funds lodged with the banker. From this definition it follows that although a cheque is a bill of exchange, yet it has peculiar characteristics, and differs in some respects from ordinary bills of exchange. In the case of Mullick v. Radakissen, heard in the Privy Council in 1854, the court said:" A cheque is a peculiar sort of instrument in many respects resembling a bill of exchange, but in some entirely different.
A cheque does not require acceptance. In the ordinary course it is never accepted. It is not intended for circulation. It is given for immediate payment. It is not entitled to days of grace, and though it is strictly speaking an order upon a debtor by a creditor to pay to a third person the whole or part of a debt, yet in the ordinary understanding of persons it is not so considered. It is more like the appropriation of what is treated as ready money in the hands of the banker; and in giving the order to appropriate to the creditor, the person giving the cheque must be considered as the person primarily liable to pay to the drawee his debt at a particular place.'
The requisites prescribed by law and custom with regard to the form of a cheque, are few and simple, but they are highly important. In general, bankers supply printed cheque-books to their customers, which contain blank forms to be filled. up. The common form runs as follows:
"London, 1st January, 1870. "West London Commercial Bank, Limited, 34, Sloane Square,-Pay [Mr. Wood] or bearer fifty pounds.
2nd The place where the cheque is issued.
It is not now necessary, although it is usual, to state on the face of the cheque where it is or is supposed to be issued. Bankers, generally, print
at the head of the form the name of the town where they carry on business, and the drawer fills in the date of the cheque in the blank space left for that purpose. This practice gave rise to many questions under the old law. See the following cases:-R. v. Pooley. R. v. Perry. Waters v. Brogden. Strickland v. Mansfield. Mansfield. Bopart v. Hicks. Bond v. Warden. Collected in the last edition of this work. They need not now be further alluded to.
3rd. Of the time when the cheque is issued.
The cheque must bear date on or before the day on which it is issued. This was required under the old law, and is required now by the Stamp Act (33 & 34 Vict., c. 97, s. 48), which declares that the term "bill of exchange" includes cheque," and afterwards, in the schedule, imposes a duty of one penny on a bill of exchange payable on demand, and other rates of duty on any other kind of bill of exchange. If a cheque bear date on a day after it is issued, it will not be payable on demand, but on the day it is dated.
Thus in Allen v. Keeves (1 East's Reports, 435), which was an action brought against a drawer of a bill of exchange, payable to bearer, for £20, bearing date the 18th day of the month, it appeared in evidence before Lord Kenyon, at the trial at Guildhall, that the bill, which was a common banker's cheque, was, in fact, drawn on the 14th, though bearing date four days after